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Police demand media outlets turn over material from Prawer plan protest
By BEN HARTMAN
02/12/2013
Israeli Journalists Association to appeal court order, saying request goes against all ethical conventions in Israel.
 
The Southern District Police secured a court order on Monday requiring media outlets to hand over photographs and videos that they shot at the protest against the Prawer Plan in and around the village of Hura on Saturday.

Doron Ben-Hamo, the Southern District Police spokesman, said that they requested the court order because the assailants threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at officers from all angles, in all types of places that the police were not able to photograph or video.

He said that they hope the material will help them in their court cases against those arrested on Saturday.

The Israel Journalists Association condemned the court order, saying in a statement that “this request goes against all ethical conventions in Israel, to the ethical boundaries of the journalists council and to past court rulings.

“We strongly condemn this attempt to use journalists as an investigatory tool and view it as a serious blow to the public trust in the press.”

They said that they would be joining the media outlets who had appealed the court’s decision.

An official from the Foreign Press Association said they have not received the court order and that at the moment their position is that the decision has nothing to do with them.

By Saturday evening, police said they had arrested 28 people for rioting during the protest, and that 15 officers had been hurt in the south and at a protest in Haifa, including Coastal District Commander Haggai Dotan.

On Monday, the Beersheba Magistrate’s Court presented indictments against four adults on charges including: assaulting police, disturbing the peace and harming animals and a vehicle.

MK Nachman Shai (Labor), the former IDF Spokesperson, on Monday, called the police request “a deep blow to the press and its work.”

“Once again the police have failed in their understanding of democracy and their adherence to the values of an enlightened country.”

In Haifa, the District Court rejected the police appeal against the lower court decision, and ordered the release of all of the protesters arrested in the "Day of Rage" protests on Saturday.

Three protesters were released to house arrest for six days, 12 protesters were released for three days house arrest, and four others were released without house arrest.

Suhad Bishara, from the Adalah human rights organization and one of the lawyers representing the Haifa group of protesters, said Monday that the court's decision showed that the arrest of the protesters was arbitrary and its sole purpose was to "cause fear and stifle the protest movement against the Prawer Plan."

Yasser Okbi contributed to this report.
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