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Border Policeman gets 14 months jail for abusing Palestinians

By Israeli journalist Yuval Yoaz
From the major Israeli newspaper Haaretz
January 16, 2005

“One stubbed a cigarette out on the Palestinian’s hand, and some of them urinated into containers and then made him drink it by forcing his mouth open and pouring it in. They also kicked him in the stomach and threatened him with their guns.”

Border Policeman Nir Levy was convicted by Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Thursday in the aggravated assault and abuse of a helpless Palestinian civilian.

Five other Border Policemen – Yossi Moshiashvilli, Robert Schneider, Alexander Miropelsky and Ariel Simhayav – were indicted in Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court for allegedly abusing two Palestinians in September 2004.

Levy, the commander of the Border Police patrol involved in the incident, was sentenced to 14 months in jail and one year probation. The trial of the other four defendants is continuing.

Shalom Amar, an investigator from the Justice Ministry’s department for investigating policemen, told the court that the abuse had occurred two weeks prior to the indictment, when a group of Border Policemen stopped a bus at the Abu Dis roadblock near Jerusalem. Some 20 Palestinians were on the bus, including two who were in Israel illegally. The two illegals were removed from the bus and taken to the Border Police unit that returns them to the Palestinian Authority. At that point, the abuse began.

First, Amar said, the policemen washed one Palestinian’s mouth with soap and then told him to rinse. When he said that he could not because there was no running water in the tap, they kicked him and beat him with their fists and guns until he was bleeding. They then ordered him to jump out of a four-meter-high window. When he said that he was afraid, they made him jump out of a window on a lower floor. He was injured and had to be treated at a nearby clinic.

The five then proceeded to beat the second Palestinian, Amar told the court. One stubbed a cigarette out on the Palestinian’s hand, and some of them urinated into containers and then made him drink it by forcing his mouth open and pouring it in. They also kicked him in the stomach and threatened him with their guns.

They then threw his papers into a pool of urine and forced him to retrieve them with his mouth. Finally they told him to jump out the window, and when he refused, they threw him out. He crawled to a neighboring house, whose occupants took him to the clinic, where he vomited blood. Since then he has suffered physical and emotional problems.

The Border Policemen confessed to the abuse, saying they had committed it because they were “angry.”

It was “a one-time outburst of anger, frustration, exhaustion,” an attorney for one of the suspects told the court. “They work impossible hours ... There was the attack in Qalandiyah, which seriously injured men from another company; two days before the incident, they visited [the wounded men] in the hospital. The wife of their deputy company commander had been wounded in the attack in Be’er Sheva two days earlier; one of their uncles was killed in the attack in French Hill.”

But Judge Haim Li-Ran was unconvinced, terming their actions “dreadful deeds that descend to the lowest levels of interpersonal behavior.”

The Justice Ministry investigation was sparked by a report in the daily Ma’ariv. The B’tselem organization helped the investigators locate the two Palestinians, neither of whom had filed a police complaint.

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