Some of the ultra-Orthodox protests against the light rail line in Jerusalem involved cases of vandalism and clashes between protesters and law enforcement officials. In the backdrop of these incidents, we have received many testimonies over the past year regarding arrests of ultra-Orthodox individuals carried out by police in the dead of night, where police broke into homes and broke down doors. More than once, police officers misidentified their arrest target and arrived at the wrong homes. Sometimes, no prior attempt was made to summon the suspect for questioning or arrest them through other means. Instead, night arrests were the first option carried out by police.
On October 4, 2021, ACRI appealed to the Commissioner of the Israel Police, calling upon him to formulate a procedure that would regulate the use of night arrests. In our appeal, ACRI Attorney Ann Sucio and Coordinator of Freedom of Expression and Protest Sivan Tahel argued that arresting someone at night is often far more abusive than a daytime arrest. People are taken out of their beds in front of family members, leaving deep emotional scars on all involved, especially small children. Additionally, the interrogation of a suspect following sleep deprivation and removal from their bed further infringes upon their right to a fair trial and dignity.
Considering this violation of human rights, we demanded that night arrests be regulated in a procedure that would limit the discretion of the police.
First, it must be ensured that other means for bringing a person in for interrogation will be exhausted prior to employing night arrests: namely, summoning individuals for interrogation by appointment, arresting them during the day, detaining the suspect on a site without children, etc.
Second, the severity of the potential suspect's offense should be weighed against the harm likely to be caused by carrying out a night arrest.
Third, it must be ensured that night arrests will be carried out following comprehensive inquiries that prevent misidentification.
Fourth, forcible entries into residential apartments for surprise night arrests should solely be permitted for grave offenses, and when genuine suspicion of escape or concealment of evidence exists.