ACRI Strongly Oposes Against Systematic Harassment and Violence Against Demonstrators

21 May 2018


Dr. Avichai Mandelblit
Attorney General


Dear Sir,

Re.: The Grave Conduct of the Israel Police surrounding the Arrest of Mr. Jafar Farah, Executive Director of the Mossawa Center


We, civil society organizations in Israel working on a daily basis to ensure the democratic resilience of the State of Israel, human and civil rights, and the advancement of social justice and coexistence, are writing to request as a matter of urgency that you hold a comprehensive and immediate investigation into the events in Haifa, during which Mr. Jafar Farah, Executive Director of the Mossawa Center, was arrested.

Last Friday, 18 May 2018, a demonstration was held in the lower city neighborhood of Haifa against the events on the Gaza Border at the beginning of last week. During the demonstration, the Police arrested 21 protestors, including Jafar Farah, Executive Director of the Mossawa Center, the Advocacy Center for Palestinian Citizens in Israel, and his son. In photographs documenting the arrest, Mr. Farah can be seen walking on both legs to the Police patrol vehicle. Later, however, it was reported that he had broken his leg and been admitted to Bnai Zion Hospital in the city. Relatives of Mr. Farah report that after he sought to assist his son, who had also been arrested and injured, the police officers used severe violence against him, following which he was hospitalized and his leg set in a cast. The family claim that Police officials impeded their access to information about Mr. Farah’s medical condition, prevented his relatives from visiting him for many hours, and insisted on his rapid return to detention despite his medical condition.

A reality in which the executive director of a leading organization in the field of social change and the defense of human and civil rights is arrested during a demonstration, shackled, and led to detention, and later taken to hospital with a serious injury, should be a cause for alarm for all citizens who cherish the basic rights of freedom of expression, association, and protest and who recognize the importance of the work of civil society organizations. The failure of the Police to provide clear explanations over the past two days regarding the circumstances surrounding Mr. Farah’s injury raise grave suspicion of improper and violent conduct on the part of Police officials. Furthermore, the claims raised by relatives concerning the treatment of Mr. Farah and his relatives by the Police following his evacuation to hospital raise further suspicion that the Police is attempting to cover up this improper conduct.

The detention and injuring of Mr. Farah leave us, as social and human rights organizations, with a grave sense of crisis regarding the law enforcement agencies. These events follow a long series of claims of Police violence directed against groups of citizens in Israel seeking to exercise their right to protest and demonstrate against various injustices, and against the civil activists who lead such protests. This is exacerbated by the vitriolic and sustained assault against civil society organizations and the legitimacy of their public actions. This crisis threatens the fabric of the relations between civil society and the law enforcement agencies; coexistence between Arab and Jewish citizens throughout Israel; and Israel’s democratic resilience. The gravity of the situation must not be depreciated.

In light of the conduct of elements within the Police over the past two days, and the casual manner in which the right to liberty has been denied, as is also apparent from the criticism leveled by the court this morning, we urge you to intervene personally in this affair and to order a comprehensive and rapid investigation into the circumstances surrounding the detention and injuring of Mr. Farah, and an examination of the justification behind all the detentions at the demonstration. At the same time, we urge you to convey a clear and public message to the Police and the law enforcement agencies concerning the importance of freedom of protest and expression, and the importance of civil society organizations and civil activity to organize protests and demonstrations. We expect that this message will be supported by substantive steps to uproot phenomena of Police violence toward demonstrators and by the inculcation of clear and strict procedures in this regard at all ranks of the Police.

We trust that our urgent appeal will fall on attentive ears.


  1. The Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism
  2. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel
  3. The Berl Katznelson Educational Center
  4. Shatil – The New Israel Fund
  5. Yedid: the Association for Community Empowerment
  6. Sikkuy: the Association for the Advancement of Civic Equality
  7. The Coalition Against Racism in Israel
  8. Israel Hofsheet: Be Free Israel
  9. Our Heritage: the Charter for Democracy
  10. The Mizrahi Democratic Rainbow Coalition
  11. The Hotline for Refugees and Migrants
  12. Na’amat – Movement of Working Women and Volunteers – Coexistence Department
  13. Kav Laoved – Worker’s Hotline
  14. The Center for a Shared Society at Givat Haviva
  15. The Abraham Fund Initiatives
  16. Tmura: the Israeli Antidiscrimination Legal Center
  17. Doctors for Human Rights
  18. Sadaka-Reut: Arab Jewish Youth Partnership
  19. Amnesty International
  20. Ossim Shalom – Social Workers for Peace and Social Welfare
  21. Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement
  22. Hamoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual
  23. Rabbis for Human Rights
  24. Assaf: Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel
  25. The Adam Institute for Democracy and Peace
  26. Itach: Women Lawyers for Social Justice
  27. Achoti – sister: for Women’s rights in Israel
  28. Mahapach-Taghir
  29. I’lam: Arab Center for Media Freedom Development and Research
  30. Movement of Democratic Women in Israel
  31. Association of University Graduates from Russia and the Former Soviet Union
  32. Veahavtem – And you shall love: High School Students for Equality and Social Justice
  33. The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel
  34. Ajeec Nispeed
  35. Zazim: Community Action
  36. Israel Social TV
  37. B’tselem: the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories
  38. Citizens for the Environment

Copied to:

Chief Superintendent Roni Alsheikh, Police Commissioner

For more information contact:, fax: -026256260

Adv. Raghad Jaraisy

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Categories: Arab Minority Rights, Freedom of Expression, Right to Protest

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