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Israeli officer indicted for assault of Palestinian detainee

Sept. 21, 2017 4:22 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 23, 2017 3:11 P.M.)
(File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israel’s Justice Ministry filed an indictment against an Israeli police intelligence officer this week for assaulting and injuring a Palestinian detainee, Israeli news daily Haaretz reported on Wednesday.

According to Haaretz, the justice ministry department, which investigates police misconduct, has also called on Israel’s police department to file disciplinary charges against three other policemen who witnessed the assault but did not report it.

The assault reportedly took place in February, when the policemen were “searching for suspects” in a synagogue break-in in the Israeli city of Ashkelon.

During the search, the indicted officer, Yahav Simon, slapped and beat a Palestinian with an iron bar, after the Palestinian allegedly did not respond to Simon’s questions, saying that he didn’t speak Hebrew.

According to Haaretz, an Israeli state comptroller’s report issued in April “accused both the Justice Ministry and the police of failing to properly address police brutality, saying that most complaints against policemen were not investigated adequately, and only rarely did police face either criminal or disciplinary charges.”

The report also found that Israeli policemen were rarely suspended from the force even if they were indicted, and sometimes not even if they were convicted.

Haaretz highlighted that Simon, however, was suspended shortly after the incident occurred.

Palestinians have long claimed that Israeli forces abuse their position of power to verbally and physically humiliate and assault Palestinians on a regular basis.

In August, Israeli forces reportedly assaulted 11 Palestinians in two separate incidents in the Old City of East Jerusalem.

When contacted by Ma’an at the time, Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld denied knowledge of the incidents and rejected the use of the word 'attacks,' telling Ma'an that "Israeli police don't attack Palestinians."

Palestinians routinely report mistreatment by Israeli forces, with Israeli authorities cracking down on Palestinian youths in recent years, while Palestinians have often accused Israeli forces of detaining Palestinian youths without any evidence of wrongdoing, and assaulting them in the process.

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