The majority of the interrogation records in the Jerusalem lynch case have been erased from police computers, Ynet has learned.
The records consist of at least 10 hours of video and audio footage from the questioning of 10 youths charged with assaulting an Arab teen in Jerusalem last August.
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This could lead to lighter sentences for the 10 defendants in the case.
Two weeks after an Arab youth was brutally assaulted by Jewish teens in Jerusalem, nine suspects were indicted for their involvement in the case.
Indictments were filed with the Jerusalem District Court against Shimon Siman Tov, 19, for incitement to violence and racially motivated aggravated assault, as well as against seven other teens.
Scene of attack in Jerusalem (Photo: Noam Dabul Dvir)
A teenage girl was charged with incitement to violence. In October, an indictment was filed against an additional suspect.
Police document the interrogation of suspects in a special system. Some of the materials in the lynch case were saved and relayed to the defense attorneys.
However when officers tried to burn the materials on CDs, only the first hour of every session was copied. Another attempt revealed that the materials were erased from the system and could not be retraced.
This may change the weight the court gives to the confessions and the details revealed in the interrogations.
The defendants' attorneys were informed of the mishap several days ago.
"Many times the footage can reveal that confessions were coerced or that what the investigators had written down was not exactly what was said," one of the defense lawyers told Ynet.
"There are also background statements that don't make it to the transcript that can sometimes shed a different light on the interview.
"In many cases, this has led to changes in criminal indictments. I intend to look deeply into this and check the consequences for my client."
Victim's family blame police
The victim's family received the news with shock and leveled harsh accusations at the police. "I can't believe the materials are gone," the teen's father said. "I think the police want to play a dirty trick to have the evidence disappear in order to drop the whole case."
He accused the police of "lack of responsibility" and called to punish the officers responsible for the mishap. "It’s a message that the police are greenlighting attacks on Arabs because ultimately the suspects are released and evidence against them is deleted."
The teen's mother said that the loss of the materials "makes us feel as though the police encourage attacking Arabs."
Hassan Shaalan contributed to this report
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