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Were detainees mistreated? (Archive)
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Troops suspected of abusing Palestinian teens
Three soldiers belonging to Kfir Brigade detained on suspicion of abusing two Palestinian boys; troops allegedly placed heater against face of one teenager; two soldiers admit to charges, judge slams 'cruel, violent conduct'
Kfir soldiers are at it again? Three IDF soldiers belonging to the Haruv battalion of the Kfir Brigade were detained Wednesday by Military Police investigators on suspicion of beating up two Palestinian boys and placing a heater against the face of one of them, Ynet has learned.

 

Kfir forces have been implicated in incidents involving problematic conduct twice in recent months. In one case, troops abducted a Palestinian taxi driver without authorization, while recently troops belonging to the brigade were videotaped exposing their rear ends to Palestinians and international activists in the West Bank.

 

In the most recent affair, there are also suspicions that the troops attempted to cover up the incident in question. A military judge who reviewed the evidence noted that it shows a "shocking picture of a joint effort by the three" and ordered that they be kept in custody for five days. All three soldiers were on the brink of completing their mandatory IDF service.

 

The investigation into the affair was launched after a female soldier who serves in the battalion turned to the battalion commander and told him that three soldiers beat up two Palestinian boys aged 16.5 a short time after they were detained on suspicion of burning tires.

 

According to the female soldier, the two Palestinian detainees were beat up while they were handcuffed and after their eyes were covered. The soldier, who witnessed some of the abuse, said that the troops kicked the Palestinians, hit them using hand restraints, and swore at them. The evidence submitted to the court includes a testimony that charges the soldiers with placing a heater against the face of one of the boys.

 

Military Police investigators questioned the two Palestinian boys and another female soldier who was present at the scene of the incident, the battalion's West Bank base. The investigators discovered that the troops under investigation instructed the female soldier not to say anything about what she saw.

 

'Acts taint IDF's image'

Two of the three soldiers have already admitted to the charges, while a third one is denying the allegations. His attorney said that the Palestinian teens were treated properly and that a heater was placed near one of their sleeping bags because of the cold weather. The attorney objected to the soldier's arrest and said that he was troubled by the attitude shown to combat soldiers.

 

However, the prosecutor in the case made it clear that the soldiers will be indicted next week on suspicion of abuse under grave circumstances. The president of the military court in Jaffa, Colonel Avi Levy, said that the three soldiers "behaved inhumanely" towards the detainees.

 

Moreover, Levy said that the suspicions are strongly backed by evidence, and that the violence constituted a case of "physically hurting vulnerable people after their eyes were covered and their hands were handcuffed."

 

"The actions are characterized by cruelty and violence," the judge says. "We are dealing with acts that seriously taint the IDF, its image, and the country's image, and which contradict the fundamental values of any army, and even more so the Israel Defense Forces."

 

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