ACRI appealed to the President of the Jerusalem District Court today (3.3.2019) to instruct the security guards that they are forbidden from preventing Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem from entering the building and from the hearings taking place within it. Following numerous complaints we received, we went to the court, where we found that entry to Palestinians to the building was denied on the grounds that “only one family member can enter.” The same restrictions did not apply to Jews who wished to enter the building. According to the complaints, at other times the security guards had said that the court had given them the authority to use their own broad discretion to restrict entry to “sensitive” hearings.
In an appeal to the President of the District Court, Attorney Tal Hassin wrote that such a decision is illegal, offensive, unreasonable, and raises serious concerns that the main sufferers will be detained and accused Palestinians and their families, who come to observe and encourage the proceedings. “It is not unreasonable to assume that, consciously or subconsciously, the security guards of the court located in East Jerusalem will mark the Palestinian population as those for whom the criminal hearings are sensitive, and those who wish to observe them as potential trouble. Security guards were trained to secure, not to exercise a complex judgment that includes legal and social balances not within their jurisdiction.” We added that the principle of public debate requires that the court and its hearings be open to the public, unless it is decided that a particular hearing will be held behind closed doors, and that every person – Jew and non-Jew alike – has the right to enter the court and to listen to the hearings that interest him or her.