The four were detained in February near the Jerusalem Municipality while protesting the expansion of the Jewish settlement in Sheikh Jarrah. They were brought before Judge Hain Li-Ran that very day, but he criticized the police's conduct in the case, ruled the protest was legal and ordered to release the detainees.
The police appealed the decision in the District Court, but was criticized there as well by the judge.
The activists then petitioned to the court claiming their arrest was illegal and demanded compensation. In his ruling Sunday Judge Hain Li-Ran defended the rights of citizens to protest and express their objection on subjects dear to their hearts.
According to him, "a society aspiring to act as a democratic society must be extra strict with its representatives in charge of preserving the rights of a man lest they harm that right."
However the judge expressed he fears "police authorities have a hard time internalizing the constitutional commitments of a democratic society when it comes to freedom of expression and the right to demonstrate."
Li-Ran called on the police to embrace the High Court of Justice's ruling on the issue reached a few years ago. "It looks as though despite any court ruling, there is still great fear that the police are triger happy when it comes to arrests in general and in certain populations in particular."
The judge stated the arrest of the four activists violated their basic right and ordered to give them compensation.
A Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement official said the judge's ruling "proves our claims of political bias the police operates by in east Jerusalem. We hope the courts continue to block the Jerusalem police's attempts to put an end to politically legitimate activity of Jews and Arabs by using false arrests, harassment and intimidation.
"The Solidarity Movement will continue to fight for justice and equality for all, Arabs and Jews."
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