Company commander with his mother at court
Photo: Ofer Amram

IDF officer, soldier indicted for assaulting Palestinians

Jaffa Military Court hears case against company commander, medic charged with alleged aggravated assault of several Palestinians held for questioning

Two Israel Defense Forces servicemen were indicted Monday for aggravated assault against Palestinian detainees in the West Bank.


According to the charges, filed with the Jaffa Military Court, the two – a lieutenant serving as a company commander and a staff-sergeant serving as a medic – assaulted Palestinians detained for a routine search and questioning.


The incident took place in late September 2008 in the West Bank. According to the indictment, while on a military motorcade patrolling the area, the troops stopped their car and the medic then proceeded to gore one of the Palestinians with his helmet, kick him in the abdomen and tear his shirt, while the officer – his direct superior – stood by and watched.


The medic also struck a second Palestinian and shoved a third one, who dared asked what he was doing, to the ground.


The two then turned their attention to frisking several other Palestinian, who were also detained. While one of them was being questioned, the officer hit him over the head, while the medic pinned him to a nearby wall, choked him and kicked him.


Other Palestinian detainees were also assaulted by the two. They were slapped, pinned down and jolted.


Exercising flawed judgment

The Military Police was first alerted to the incident about one month after it took place, when a human rights group activist filed a complaint.


The first breakthrough in the case came in January, after a third soldier, who witnessed the events, decided to come forward.


Military investigators then began questioning several of the company's soldiers. The officer denied any allegations of violence, but did admit that he and the medic may have used "some" force.


The two were remanded pending the conclusion of the legal proceedings against them. Attorney Shimon Cohen, for the officer, demanded his client be released from custody immediately, including in his appeal a statement by the officer's brigade commander, saying that there was no reason to keep him in custody and that by doing so, "the court is demoralizing the troops."


While some of the officer's superiors admit he may have demonstrated flawed judgment in this case, they all agree that he was not a violent man, but rather an IDF officer under orders to track down terrorists, and who was trying to execute his orders.


פרסום ראשון: 04.06.09, 14:20
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