Three IDF combatants serving in the West Bank have been charged with brutally assaulting a Palestinian taxi station dispatcher in Hebron. The soldiers allegedly forced to man to undress and then beat him until he was rendered unconscious.
An indictment served against the soldiers, all members of the Lavi Battalion of the Kfir Brigade, charges them with aggravated assault, aggravated abuse and intent to harm.
The incident took place in January 2008. According to testimonies, two of the defendants arrived at a taxi station in Hebron and began smashing the cabs' side mirrors, windshield wipers and lights.
When Ziyad Ahmed Abu Sanina, the station's dispatcher, approached the soldiers in an attempt to persuade them to stop, they ordered him to undress. Abu Sanina refused to remove all of his clothes, and was consequently beat up by the soldiers, who kicked him, punched him and hit him with their weapons in his face and legs.
One of the accused later dragged Abu Sanina to the troops' military jeep and handcuffed him, and the soldiers reportedly went on kicking him for a quarter of-an-hour.
In the course of the incident, two family members of Abu Sanina who arrived at the place and tried to report of the occurrence, were also violently attacked by the combatants.
After releasing his relatives, the troops continued to abuse their first victim. They covered Abu Sanina's face with a kaffiyah, threw him into a nearby puddle and went on hitting him with a rifle until he lost consciousness. After he came back to his senses, the troops ordered him to fully undress or circle their vehicle five times if he wanted to be set free.
Abu Sanina did as he was ordered, and was eventually allowed to leave the place, but after he told his abusers that he intended to file a complaint against him, they chased him and beat once more.
IDF officials 'regret incident'
The defendants denied the allegations against them, claiming that all they did was try and subdue Abu Sanina after he became unruly. Attorney Yevgeni Yaakubov, who represents the troops, told Ynet: "The soldiers denied in their investigation the complainant's claims. The complainant falsified the facts… to serve his own interests."
Yaakubov said that his clients, who are currently being held in detention, plan to deny the allegations during their arraignment.
Responding to the incident, IDF officials said: "We regret the case. The Central Command and the Kfir Brigade are investing time, resources and efforts in dealing with issues of misconduct. These incidents are being addressed by the entire chain of command.
"It should be kept in mind that the combatants are operating tirelessly throughout Judea and Samaria and that they have been highly praised for their actions. The number of cases that reveal normative failures is small and we are working to prevent them altogether."