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Anti-Gaza op protestor to get NIS 12,000
By Ilana Curiel
Ynet / Israel News
31 Oct 2010
Student Ran Tzoref, who was prosecuted over an illegal demonstration against Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, will receive NIS 12,838 (about $3,545) in damages, the Beersheba Magistrate`s Court ruled Sunday. Tzoref was acquitted by the court earlier this month.
According to the indictment, Tzoref and five other people took part in an illegal protest and refused to leave the area after being ordered to do so by a police officer.
The police`s prosecution department in the Negev district filed indictments against six protestors, but later pulled the indictment against five of the offenders – excluding Tzoref.
Tzoref`s lawyer, Attorney Dan Yakir, asked that the indictment against his client be canceled as well, but the request was denied and the legal proceedings continued. Judge Sara Haviv decided to acquit Tzoref, ruling that the police had failed to prove the allegations against him.
Attorney Yakir asked that his client be compensated, claiming discrimination between Tzoref and the other defendants. He asked the court to take into consideration the fact that his client had been placed under house arrest for about a month.
A representative of the prosecution department said that the request for compensation should be denied, explaining that in light of the circumstances at the time of the indictment – the Gaza operation and the firing of rockets on the southern city of Beersheba – the defendant should have been convicted.
`Helplessness in the face of authorities`
Judge Haviv ruled that Tzoref should be compensated for the criminal proceedings and for showing up to all hearings, as he was innocent and should not have been prosecuted to begin with.
She added, however, that the compensation should be small as he was a student who did not work at the time of the trial. In addition, he received legal counseling on behalf of the Association for Civil Rights and did not pay for it himself.
The judge further ruled that Tzoref should be compensated for damages which were `not visible` – the damage caused to his freedom, both due to his arrest and due to the period he was placed under limiting conditions, the delay of justice he suffered due to the trial and the fear of being convicted, and the damage to freedom of speech and protest.
In addition, the judge said, the evidence showed that Tzoref and the other defendants were ordered to leave the area within 10 minutes, but that the police began arresting protestors after less than four minutes.
`A citizen who received an order from a police officer and seeks to fulfill it, but is not given the chance to do so and eventually finds himself arrested for that, is bound to feel helpless and frustrated in the face of the police forces and authorities,` the judge wrote. `A democratic regime must avoid creating such feelings among its citizens.`
Tzoref will receive NIS 338 ($93) for his arrest, NIS 2,500 ($690) for the legal proceedings and another NIS 10,000 ($2,761) for the damage caused to his rights during the arrest.
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