Monday, August 6, 2007

Pre-Disengagement Police Beating Nets Boy 25,000 Shekels


The sad thing about this story is that it shows how little the police are interested in justice and how much they allow the violence of their own men to continue. These should be criminal cases, not civil cases, and these “policemen” should be in jail.

by Hillel Fendel

( A boy who was beaten by police prior to the Disengagement will be compensated to the tune of 25,000 shekels.

Efforts to mete out justice to the victims of Disengagement police violence continue apace, with individual successes attained periodically. The Civil Rights Organization of Yesha [Judea and Samaria] announces the latest achievement: A compromise agreement awarding 25,000 shekels ($5,800) from the police to Elnatan Rokach, 20, a resident of the Gilad outpost in the Shomron.

The incident in question occurred two years ago, when Rokach made his way, as did thousands of others, to sealed-off Gush Katif. At the Kisufim checkpoint, where Katif residents were allowed to pass through upon presentation proof of residence, Rokach - bearing no such ID card - was stopped. According to the suit he later filed in court, two policemen then searched him; one of them, as well as other policemen, beat him very strongly. One policemen sat him down in a chair and punched him four times in the groin. When he asked for medical help, two policemen laughed at him and refused. He was later admitted to the hospital in Kfar Saba, where he was treated for hemorrhaging and was be given relaxants.

Though Rokach asked the Police Department's Department for Investigation of Policemen to suspend the two policemen and file a criminal complaint, it refused to suspend them and agreed only to a disciplinary trial against them. However, it did agree to compromise on Rokach's demand for 50,000 shekels in damages, and will pay him 25,000 shekels in an out-of-court settlement.

Rokach is engaged to be married in a number of weeks.

Clubbing Cop Capped
In a related development, after 18 months of efforts, the "clubbing policeman" of Amona fame has finally been identified. His name is Moti Mahager, a policeman in the Shomron/Yehuda Border Guard unit, and the first of several expected lawsuits against him has already been filed.

Mahager was filmed employing unreasonably brutal violence in the Amona destruction of February of 2006. During the incident, initiated by a Peace Now lawsuit, thousands of policemen and soldiers deployed on the hilltop community of 35 families overlooking Ofrah in the Binyamin region. Their mission was to safeguard and expedite the destruction of nine houses deemed illegal by the Olmert government and the Supreme Court. Well over 1,000 protestors and nationalist sympathizers gathered at the site as well, and the violence that soon ensued exceeded all expectations - which had been high to begin with. Hundreds of youths were sent to the hospital with head and other injuries.

Films of the event began to circulate almost immediately afterwards. One of the most horrific clips showed a mounted policemen charging into a crowd and trampling people, while another showed a helmeted policeman brutally clubbing youths sitting tightly together on the floor of one of the houses. In response to the resulting public outrage from the right-wing sector, it was announced that the policeman had been investigated "under caution" by the police department itself - yet no charges were ever filed against him.

In addition, despite many requests to file individual suits against the policeman, much evidence amassed against him, and the continued suffering of some of those he beat, his identity was never released. The Yesha Civil Rights Organization decided to take matters into its own hands, and amassed much evidence - including a clip showing Mahager responding to another policeman calling his name.

A boy who is still listed as 15% incapacitated as a result of injuries he suffered as a result of the beating he received that day has filed a suit for damages against Mahager, and more suits are expected.

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