A protest in Haifa on May 20, 2018, against Israeli actions on the Gaza border and alleged police brutality..
(photo credit: JOINT LIST)
Prominent Arab and Jewish NGOs have penned a letter of solidarity with Jafar Farah, whose knee was broken following a demonstration in Haifa on Friday night, an injury which he says was caused by a police officer who handled him violently after arresting him.
"As heads of civil society organizations working on the promotion of democracy and shared society between Jews and Arabs in Israel, we condemn the brutal detaining of Jafar Farah, director of Mossawa (The Advocacy Center For Arab Citizens In Israel) last Friday in Haifa," reads the letter, which was published on Sunday night. "We are horrified by the excessive violence against him after his detention that even required him to be hospitalized for medical care, and condemn it in all possible ways."
The letter was signed by The Abraham Fund Initiative, Israel Democracy Institute, Givat Haviva, Sikkuy, Mahpach Taghyeer, Kav Mashve, Tsofen, Shatil and AJEEC.
"Civil society organizations play an important and meaningful role within society, including community organization and leading various protest campaigns," they said. "The police should allow them do their work within the legal framework and refrain from threatening them and acting violently against them."
The groups added that they were "deeply troubled by police conduct toward the Arab citizens who are protesting against the events in Gaza. We would like to remind the police and the enforcement authorities that they have to allow and protect the right to protest, a basic civic right in a democratic regime."
The letter concludes with a demand for an independent examination of the events surrounding the protest in Haifa and the detention of Farah.
Accusations of police violence against demonstrators at Friday's protest are currently being investigated by Mahash, the Justice Ministry’s Police Investigation Department. The department is an independent body established in 1992 in order to investigate police suspected of committing offenses.