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Sunday, March 19, 2006

Violent Policemen to Face Disciplinary Hearing

One can only hope that this hearing - and many more that should follow - will not be a whitewash. Unfortunately, though, so long as the police are 'investigating' themselves and the courts are not involved, there is little hope of any real action being taken.

Arutz Sheva is reporting that two policemen are to be placed on trial for beating a "Jewish boy" (age not given) while he was bound during a protest against the disengagement expulsion of Jews from their homes, which took place near Tapuach in Samaria last summer.

The decision to place the two policemen only on disciplinary trial was made by the Department's Bureau of Complaints Against Policemen (Machash)

The incident in question occurred in July 2005 at the Tapuach Junction. The boy was arrested for activities related to his protest of the Disengagement. The policemen beat him even though he could not defend himself and posed no threat to the law enforcement officers.

The Civil Rights Organization of Judea and Samaria, headed by Orit Strook of Hevron (pictured), announced that it would appeal the decision. The organization demands that the two policemen be tried in a civil law court on criminal charges.

This may be an indication of what is ahead for those who complain regarding the violence in 'Amona' six weeks ago:

Attorney General Menachem Mazuz informed the Yesha organization late last week that minors who file complaints of police brutality at Amona need not fear that they will be charged themselves. Mazuz said that no one will be charged merely for being at the site.

The Amona incident occurred on Feb. 1 in an outpost of some 40 families adjacent to Ofrah in the Binyamin area. Hundreds of young protestors were beaten and injured by police, when thousands of police and soldiers took action to remove them from the site and destroy nine buildings deemed illegally built.

The Yesha civil rights organization has collected some 1,500 testimonies and complaints against policemen at Amona, and a similar amount of photographs and video clips depicting police brutality. The material had not been submitted to Machash for fear of a boomerang effect in which those who testified would be arrested for having been there.

Strook told a Knesset committee, and repeated publicly on other occasions, that many minors refrained from bringing charges against policemen for fear that they themselves would be indicted.

The area of Amona was declared a "closed military zone" and forbidden to civilians sometime during the course of the Amona events - but one of the questions is when this declaration was made. The police have a video of such an announcement being made at 12:55 PM, three hours after the destruction and forcible removal of protestors began. They have not yet produced any proof of earlier announcements. [The entire 'declaration' of a 'closed military zone' is nonsense anyway. Unless it's done in advance - which was not the case here - all it does is give the police and the army cover for beating people's heads in. CiJ]


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