Court finds for IBA over police in mosque tape affair

Original mosque constructed illegally on public land and was destroyed early this month by ILA with assistance of 700-800 police officers.

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November 22, 2010 05:40
1 minute read.
Rahat residents praying at site of mosque

311_bulldozed Rahat mosque. (photo credit: Channel 10)

 
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The Israel Broadcasting Authority scored a victory against the police on Sunday in the Beersheba Magistrate’s Court, where Judge Amit Cohen annulled a court order instructing the IBA to hand over to police videotapes documenting the rebuilding of a mosque in the Beduin city of Rahat.

The original mosque was constructed illegally on public land and was destroyed early this month by the Israel Lands Authority with the assistance of 700-800 police officers, who guarded the demolition process.

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The mosque was reconstructed by the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement within a few hours of it being torn down, and the work was documented on video by an IBA television crew.

The police then secured a court order instructing the IBA to hand over all the raw footage.

The police wanted the tape as evidence so that it could conduct an investigation against the culprits on the grounds that they had knowingly broken the law.

The IBA for its part filed an appeal against the order, declaring that the images on the tapes were captured by IBA staff in the course of their assignment as journalists, and as such were protected property immune to police scrutiny.

In his ruling, Cohen noted that unless it was absolutely essential, the police should not interfere in the journalistic work of the IBA, and even then only if there was no other way to ascertain who had committed the crime.



Nonetheless, the court gave the police 60 days in which to determine its future actions in the case, and instructed the IBA not to destroy the tapes.

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