On 17 July 2023, the Knesset’s National Security Committee held a debate on a bill titled “Criminal Procedure Law (Powers of Enforcement – Arrests): Stricter Conditions for Release on Bail-2023,” which seeks to significantly tighten the conditions for release on bail that a commanding police officer may impose on detainees. According to the proposed amendment, a commanding police officer will be able to bar entry to a certain geographic area for 90 days (instead of 15 days at present), ban an assembly for 90 days (three times the permitted period at present), confine a person to a specific location for 30 days (instead of 15 days at present), and impose house arrest for 15 days (versus 5 days at present).
Presenting the joint position of Zulat for Equality and Human Rights and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, Zulat Executive Director Einat Ovadia said: “The proposed amendment brings to mind administrative detention, a kind of bypass route over which there is no judicial review. We consider the duration of the ban and the violation of freedom of movement and other rights without being brought before a judge unreasonable in non-severe crime cases, not to mention that even severe crime cases must take into account a variety of factors. A 90-day ban doubles a senior/junior police officer’s authority to bar the movement of citizens without bringing them before a judge.
I understand the logic for such a law provision with regards to serious crimes, but I would like to talk about small offenses which we see week in and week out when protesters are arrested. We are worried that this law provision might seriously injure freedom of expression and protest as senior and junior police officers could use it to physically stop a protester from reaching a location. This protester would not be told he could not demonstrate, but that he could not go to a location for 90 days. A clear distinction should be established as to what a serious offense is. Could this prevent a man who has been violent before from getting to his spouse and hurting her? There must be a clear definition so that the injury is minimal in cases of small offens.”
(Translation from Hebrew: Shoshana Michkin)
Watch (Hebrew, no subtitles):
>> Read the full position paper: Stricter Conditions for Release on Bail: Violation of Freedom of Protest