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ISRAELIS FIGHTING FOR FUTURE OF THE COUNTRY

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Marianne AziziIsrael
ISRAELIS FIGHTING FOR FUTURE OF THE COUNTRY
The Coalition for Children & Families in Israel continue to call for protection of Human Rights Defenders. 3 of the 4 defenders have been imprisoned SINCE this letter was written - all in 2016.

Since this letter was written to the UN, the journlist Lory Shem Tov has become a major target in Israel who are using the USA to pressure her to be silenced.  Guy Shamir just left prison after another false claim last week.  Yaakov Ben Isachar was just released after a year in prison for his protests.

The letters requesting protection for the brave are still being written.  Most Israelis themselves don't see how much their comrades are fighting for their rights.  The right to family life without intervention of the Welfare; the right to a clean divorce without criminalising parents; the right to critique the judiciary - are all in peril.




COALITION CHILDREN & FAMILY ISRAEL

Association Peace and Justice for Sephardic Jews in Israel

89- 91 Rue Faubourg Saint Honore, 75008 PARIS, FRANCE, Fax +44-843-265-3586

Email:

September 9, 2013

Honorable Commissioner Margaret Sekaggya P.O. Box 3176, Kampala, Uganda.

Tel. No: 256-414-348007/8/10/14

Residence Telephone No: 256-414-270160

Mobile No: 256-772-788821, Fax No: 256-414-255261

E-mail: [email protected], [email protected]

Re: Harassment of Human Rights Defenders in Israel

Invitation to visit Israel

Intervention in policy Immunizing Judges from

Dear Honorable Commissioner Margaret Sekaggya:

The Coalition for Children and Family, a UN Civil Society, would like to invite you to Israel to examine first-hand the situation of freedom defenders, in general, and of the defenders who fight injustice in the family and juvenile courts.

These family and juvenile courts are secret “closed door” courts, with almost no rules of procedure, capricious judges (issuance of orders or judgments at whim, refusal to allow right of argument, minimal transcription in writing of the sessions), obstacles to fair trial (refusal to call witnesses, refusal to summon records, refusal to set court dates, refusal to allow private experts, denial of rights to cross examine). These are just some examples, which result in parents not able to see their children, parents who are needlessly arrested, impoverished, and humiliated parents.

In particular four freedom defenders in the area of family rights stand out, as they are being targeted by authorities in Israel via police and the press to be silenced, harassed and hounded: Amir Shipperman, Guy Shamir, Ms. Lori Shem Tov and Yaakov Ben Isaschar.

The very few who stand up to this capricious system by writing and exposing deficiencies and failures of the Judiciary, and those who demonstrate, find themselves being constantly targeted by the police and other law enforcement (in particular the Computer Frauds Units across the country, and the Israeli equivalent of the FBI, LAHAV 433.

We call your intervention on an urgent basis to ask the Israeli authorities to immediately cease and desist from practices that offend human rights and place the freedom defenders at risk their lives and liberties. The perpetrators include the chief of Police, heads of the Judiciary, including the President of the Supreme Court Judge, Asher Grunis, the Chief of the Court Administration, Michael Scpitzer, and the Minister of Justice, Ms. Tzipora Livni.

The practices requiring intervention are:

(a) Judges in Israel are immune from testifying in criminal cases where they are the real complainant. According to the secret practice promulgated by Mr. Grunis and Ms. Livni, when indictments are filed against the freedom defender by a Judge, the criminal court refuse to summon the real complainant, the Judge to testify about what happened. Thus, the defendant is without access to exculpating evidence.

(b) The police itself opens police complaints without a live human being complainant, which in these case are family court judges. Again, a secret practice endorsed by Mr. Asher Grunis and Ms. Zipi Livni allows the police to take complaints from Judges against freedom defenders who demonstrate or write critique of the family courts in blogs and other internet media. Usually these complaints by Judges are based on insult laws, or allegations of some threat emanating from the peaceful demonstration or the writing in the internet. The complaints are opened in the police without a live human being complainant. In other words, the Judge who complains at the police is not docketed as complainant. Instead, it is the Security Unit of the Administration of the Courts, who is registered as a complainant.

(c) The Government leaks to the media reports that participation in civil vigil protests against family court judges will result in arrests and other unspecified punishments. For example, newspaper HARETZ reported that According to Mr. Grunis if any more demonstrations are organized against family court judges, the demonstrators will face “extraordinary measures” approved by him in conjunction with the Israel Police Chiefs.

(d) Daily surveillance by police of blogs and facebook activity. It has been reported that the police compiled “black list” of freedom defenders in the area of family law, and all their activities on facebook and internet are recorded daily.

These complaints concern four (4) freedom defenders:

1. Lori Shem Tov is a journalist and blogger who exposes and writes about decisions of family judges who offend due process, and abuse citizens’ rights, especially denials of rights to access children. Ms. Shem Tov was called to the police and to the FBI Unit (Lahav 433) to respond to complaint initiated by Judge Tova Sivan in connection with a demonstration in front of her mansion in the city of Ramat Hasharon, and in connection with criticism on some of this Judge’s decisions and judgments. Also her own Judge Naftali Shilo complained against her. Possibly other Judges complained against her as well.

At police interrogations, the policemen refuse to tell her who the complaints are, and what is the substance of the criminal complaints. Again, if an indictment is filed against her, she will not be able to summon as witnesses the same Judges that complained against her.

2. Status of victim as human rights defender: Shem Tov’s blogs and critique of family Judges on he internet serves as one of the primary and only tool for parents abused by the system to learn how to cope with abuse and denial of parental rights. Her blogs network is one of the only sources of information to parents in distress, as the Government does not publish the laws anywhere, and the cases are also unpublished, thus leaving the public without any information to learn how to cope.

3. Description of the violations: In order to deter Shem Tov from publishing corruption and abuses of parents at family and juvenile courts, she is often called to be interrogated at the Police Lahav 433 unit. She has been prevented from seeing her children, in particular the older one, and is threatened that if she does not delete the critique she will never see her children again.

In addition, because she participated in demonstration in front of Tova Sivan’s house, Tova Sivan filed criminal charges against her.

Also two figures at the Ministry of Welfare, Meir Cohen and Yosi Silman have threatened her that she will be punished, unless she deletes information as to the work of social workers who separate between children and parents.

4. The Perpetrators: Judges Tova Sivan, Naftali shilo and Michael Schpitzer (head of Court Administration) who complained against her. Also, from the Ministry of Welfare Meir Cohen and Yosi Silman.

5. Action by authorities: Shem Tov is called to the police every few months to be investigated about critiques of the family judiciary. In addition, the officials at Court Administration reported on Haaretz newspaper that they have asked law enforcement in Israel to approach Google and YouTube to delete critique and blogs, and to direct Israel’s internet suppliers to block contents in Israel, so the public cannot read the criticism.

6. Link between the violation and HR work. Shem Tov is educating the public how to defend themselves against social workers and Judges who abuse parental rights. She also represents a non-profit charity “Alia”, to support women whose children are taken for foster care and adoptions. That is the reason why the officials want to silence her.

7. This complaint is presented to the UN-HRC by the Israel Coalition for Children and Family (www.ccfisrael.org/eng), a civil society listed with the UN.

1. Amir Shipperman, age 30, father to a daughter age 3½, and in divorce proceedings since she was 6 months old. The family court judge forbade him from seeing his daughter for two years. Eventually she allowed him one hour a week.

2. Status of victim as human rights defender: Shipperman is one of the founders of Israel’s fathers’ rights group “Alef ze Aba” in facebook containing 2,500 members. He personally received phone calls from fathers on the verge of distress and suicide and helps them gain courage and mental powers to face the inevitable separation from the children. He participates in vigil protests in front of judges and recently in front of the minister of Justice, Tzipy Livni. As one of the famous representatives of men’s rights in Israel, he is in contact with the Livni assistants to discuss reformation of the family laws. He also organizes conferences on the status of fatherhood in Israel, and appears frequently on television.

3. Description of the violations: His own family court Judge, Ms, Esther Stein, filed a police complaint against him for allegedly writing against her words she perceived as an insult, in connection with a Youtube video featuring a demonstration on July 31, 2012 under her apartment. Allegedly she was insulted during the demonstration in the city of Petach Tikva on that date. Again, the complaint was docketed as if the Security Unit of Court administration is the complainant.

Judge Esther Shtein (family Court in Rishon Leziyon) made a name for herself as a Judge that does not let any man see his own children during the pendency of divorce proceedings, and only one hour a week thereafter. This brutal and discriminatory bias was the subject of the demonstration under her apartment, where her own neighbors joined the protestors.

The Judge filed a complaint against Shipperman, but it was docketed as a complaint from the “Security Unit of the Administration of the Court”. He was investigated extensively at the police about organizing demonstrations and his computer was seized so as to gain private information about other belonging to fathers’ rights groups. No indictment was filed yet, but should one be filed, then under the unpublished guideline of President Judge Asher Grunis, he will be barred from calling Judge Esther Shtein, the complainant, from testifying in the same trial where she is the alleged complaining victim.

4. The Perpetrators: Judge Esther Shtein of family court in Rishon LeZion (who filed the baseless complaint), Judge Asher Grunis who issued the secret guideline that Judges are not docketed as complainant and are exempt from testimony in their own case, and Yohanan Danino, Chief of the Police who refuses to follow the laws which allow demonstrations anywhere in the country, and also allows police precincts to docket complaints without a human being complainant.

5. Action by authorities: Following the demonstration in front of Judge Esther Shtein , Shipperman was called to the police, interrogated extensively and menacingly, and his computer was seized. His family case was transferred to another Judge. Several months later, an article appeared in the press, reported by Revital Hovel in “Haaretz” on October 2, 2012, and stating that

Chief President of the Supreme Court, Grunis, met with Chief of Court

Administration, Mr. Schpitzer, together with Chief of police Yohanan Danino, and Yoav Segalovich, as well as Attorney Generals Moshe Lador and Yehuda Weinstein who announced that “new tools” will be used against anybody demonstrating against a Judge.

6. Link between the violation and HR work: The fact that 6 persons at the top positions in the country: the top judge, the top administrative judge, the two top law enforcement men, and the two top attorney generals in charge of the Administrative authorities of the State convene together, and devise secret “new tools” that will be implemented against anybody daring to peacefully demonstrate in front of a corrupt Judge creates a chilling effect on the ability of freedom defenders to mobilize victims and abused persons to fight for their rights. Since that article, no demonstration was organized in front of the Judge for fear of these repercussions.

7. This complaint is presented to the UN-HRC by the Israel Coalition for Children and Family (www.ccfisrael.org/eng), a civil society listed with the UN.

1. Mr. Shamir is almost 40 years old with 2 children in divorce. The Judge in his divorce case, Esperanza Alon, told him that children don’t need fathers and that the father’s job is just to pay the child support and the former wife’s

rent. When the judge denied him the right to see his children, he co-founded Alef Ze Aba with Shipperman and Ben Issachar.

2. Status of the Victim as a human rights defender: As co-founder of Alef Ze Aba he is the liaison with other civil rights groups. Shamir appeared at Parliament hearings, and assembled 1,000 members, fathers without rights.

Shamir filed 10 Supreme Court petitions against various arms of the Government on behalf of the public (to finalize two parliamentary committees’ recommendations that are procrastinated 7 years, to abolish discrimination against men in child access matters, to abolish discrimination against men in child support, to abolish Attorney General Guideline 2.5 exempting women from prosecution for false complaints, to add male members to other Ministry of Justice Committees, to close the nefarious child prisons called “Merkaz Kesher”, and others. All cases were dismissed without a hearing, at the behest of Judge Asher Grunis.

3. Description of the violations: To deter Mr. Shamir from political activities to change the laws , and from filing more cases in the Supreme Court, a police complaint was filed against him by the secretary of judge Esperanza Alon (family court in Haifa). This Judge has warned him that if he continues in his political and protest activities (including appearances at Parliamentary committee hearings), she will personally deny him the right to see his two children.

Judge Alon had her secretary made an entrapment call to Mr. Shamir and provoked him by telling him that a decision was issued giving custody of the children to his wife, with no visitations to him. Thereafter the secretary, Ms. Keren Peles, who initiated the phone call, filed a complaint citing threat to the life of the Judge’s children.

All Shamir’s efforts to summon Judge Esperanza Alon to testify in the trial where she is the alleged victim, have been met with denial. Mr. Shamir ended up in detention for 40 days in a top security facility, because his criminal case was filed in the same court where Esperanza is working, and she admittedly asked the Judges assigned to his criminal case (Ayelet HochTal, Orit Kantor) to be harsh with him, and not release him on bail, so that he “learn the lesson”. The case is awaiting trial in the Nazareth District.

4. The Perpetrators: Judge Esperanza Alon (the complainant), Judge Asher Grunis (who personally came to visit Esperanza Alon in Haifa “to show support” in September 2012, and is responsible for the policy that Judges do not testify) . Judge Nechama Munitz at the Nazareth criminal court who refuses to summon Esperanza Alon as a witness.

5. Action by authorities: After 40 days in detention that ended in September 2012, he was released to a home arrest for a few months, and later allowed to be at liberty except travel into the city of Haifa, where Esperanza resides. Application to summon Judge Esperanza Alon was denied by a district Court Judge in Nazareth Ms. Nechama Zimering Munitz’ who told him she expects him to “confess”.

In retaliation, Judge Grunis denied application to transfer his family case away from the Haifa district. Applications made to file a tort claim in forma pauperis were denied, even though Shamir is without a job, ability to work, or any funds whatsoever.

6. Link between the violation and HR work: Shamir’s arrest was covered by alternative media and followed by many among civil rights protestors. The message that emanates from this fiasco is that if you “mess” with the Judiciary, it retaliates by disengaging you from your children and opening criminal cases against you.

7. This complaint is presented to the UN-HRC by the Israel Coalition for Children and Family (www.ccfisrael.org/eng), a civil society listed with the UN.

1. Yaakov Ben Isaschar is a reporter, a blogger and activists, especially in the area of coerced removal of children from normative parents and their outplacement to foster homes and closed outplacement facilities. He is 45 years old. In the past his younger daughter, during divorce, expressed a wish to live with her father and not the mother. In retaliation the Israeli family court ordered the girl locked up in a closed institution for three months or until she agrees to live with the mother, and a psychiatric evaluation was ordered (and defeated) in order to dissuade him from fighting custody.

Ben Issaschar‘s 4 year struggle to rescue his daughter is documented in a 90 minute feature film Zchut Avot, which periodically shown on Israel Channel 1 TV. Since then he has vowed to assist any parent who is confronted with social workers and judges who separate between children and parents (of both sexes).

2. Status of victim as human rights defender: Ben Issaschar regularly appears in Parliamentary sessions concerning family rights and parental rights vis a vis the powers of the Welfare authorities and Judges to arbitrarily separate children from loving parents. He organizes demonstrations of victims including a recent demonstration in front of the Minister of Welfare, Meir Cohen, where police greeted him with violence, beat him and arrested him. He appears in court cases on behalf of the non profit “movement for the Future of Our Children, as amicus curiae, especially when immigrants who can’t speak Hebrew are called to court without lawyers or translators. This affects many Ethiopians and Russians, who needlessly and cruelly lose their children.

3. Description of the violations: Several Judges complained against Mr. Ben Issachar in the past 12 months including:

Judge Galit Mor Vigotzki, (she complained that someone overheard on August 3, 2011 allegedly talking in the Court kiosk that he wants to hurt this Judge. This case is in investigation phase only. It was immediately leaked to the press by the Administration of the Courts so as to deter others, that the Judge is being “intimidated”, and needs personal security. The report in Maariv, (2nd largest publication, reporter Avi Ashkenazi) reported verbatim the Court administration’s press release, as is customary in Israeli press (i.e., not allowing right of rebuttal in the press).

Judge Nathan Nachmani. This is a double case. Currently, trial is pending before Judge Itzhak Itzhaki presiding over a criminal trial. Judge Itzhaki refuses to allow Ben Isaschar to call the complainant, Mr. Nachmani to give testimony. In the past, on October 22, 2005, Ben

Issaschar participated in demonstration in front of the residence of Judge Nachmani, and because of this demonstration he was indicted for insulting an official, as well as trespass on the privacy of the Judge. The Judge and the police sought to remand him until the end of trial on the allegation that he was “psychotic”. (See Crim. Case State of Israel v.

Ben Issachar, before Judge Hadassah Naor, January 18, 2006).

Yoram Shaked, (complaining about negative reviews about decisions he made written in a web site devoted to exposing inhumane court decisions, and allegedly attributed to Ben Issasschar). This case is in investigation phase only.

Tova Sivan (complaining about a cartoon that appeared in one of the Hebrew web pages). This case is in investigation phase only.

Tamar Snunit Forer, complained that she was insulted by an article that called her a “vampire sucking men’s blood”. This case is in investigation phase only).

In addition, during a demonstration in front of the residence of the minister of Welfare, Mr. Meir Cohen, in Dimona in June 2013, the Minister of welfare Meir Cohen sent policemen with instructions to physically attack Mr. Ben Issaschar in order to scare him not to return to Dimona.

4. The Perpetrators: See item 3.

5. Action by authorities: Ben Isaschar is inducted on several cases started by Judges against him. There are still investigations pending. The Government intends to block his web site from viewing within the State of Israel. He is constantly harassed by police.

6. Link between the violation and HR work: Ben Issaschar educated the public and also assist the weak and feeble who cannot afford a lawyer. He exposes Judges and social workers.

7. This complaint is presented to the UN-HRC by the Israel Coalition for Children and Family (www.ccfisrael.org/eng), a civil society listed with the UN.

There are plenty more examples of Judges filing police complaints without testifying at the police or at trial, but they are private examples.

For example, judge Rivka Mekayes filed a criminal complaint against Mr. Yossi Tzayeg for insulting her during a demonstration with 40 other men in front of her residence (reported in Yedioth/Ynet by Raanan Ben Tzur July 26, 2009.

Judge Hanna Rothschild filed a criminal complaint against a father Reuven Pincu whom she denied the right to see his child. He cited in his own appeal papers another judge who said that “reckless judicial conduct will cause the next tragedy”, and Judge Rothschild interpreted it as a “threat” to her. This resulted in a 7 month prison term. It is reported by Michal Shapira in Maariv on July 19, 2010.

The urgency: See summary of report in Haaretz on August 28, 2013, “Courts Administration seeks to block online criticism of judges”. Agency asks prosecutors to examine legal measures for closing down websites devoted to slamming judges.

By Revital Hovel| Aug. 28, 2013 | 3:03 PM

The Courts Administration has asked the state prosecution to examine what legal steps can be taken against websites that malign judges, including whether they can be shut down.

This is the second time in the past year the Courts Administration has moved to examine ways to protect judges. In October, Haaretz reported that Supreme Court President Asher Grunis and Courts Administration director Michael Spitzer had asked Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and State Prosecutor Moshe Lador to look into banning demonstrations near judges’ homes.

That move sparked public criticism, since demonstrations are permitted near the residences of other public officials, including figures involved in law enforcement such as prosecutors and police officers. One of the critics was former Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann, who wrote in his latest book, “Judges set idealistic standards for others, but encounter great difficulty when the demand arises to apply those standards to the judges themselves.”

Officials in the State Prosecutor’s Office view the judges’ latest request as a bit extreme as well. Among other problems, any new laws passed to enable the closure of websites devoted to criticizing judges would violate the right to freedom of expression.

Judges who preside over divorce and child-custody cases, which are routinely put under gag orders due to the sensitive nature of the cases, are the most popular targets for criticism on these websites.

In summary, please schedule a country visit to Israel. Also, please intervene regarding the practices described above, and the rights of the four freedom defenders listed above.

Sincerely,

Lori ShemTov

#Lory Shem Tov, #Guy Shamir, #Amir Shipperman, #Israel, #Right to free speech, #Judge shaming, #Judge Bashing, #First Amendment, #Israelis and protests

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