A Palestinian resident of the village Kusra in the West Bank arrived Sunday morning at the Shai district police station to submit a deposition in connection with a car torching incident in February, but to his surprise was suddenly turned from a complainant to a suspect.
He was interrogated for several hours for allegedly fabricating a "price tag" act, and was later released on bail.
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The Yesh Din human rights group, which mediated between the complainants and the police and convinced several villagers to testify, was furious at the police.
One of the burnt cars in Qusra (Photo: Panet website)
"Instead of investigating a serious hate crime, policemen are looking for an alibi," the group stated.
"The police are refusing to conduct a real and thorough investigation, and are irresponsibly attempting to frighten the complainants. It is a cynical, infuriating and outrageous abuse."
Last week Yitzhak Aharonovitch, the minister of interior security, criticized the police for announcing that the incident was a fabrication, saying the statement was premature.
Aharonovitch's statement opened the door for the villagers' cooperation with the police, which they boycotted following the fabrication allegations, and a group arrived at the station to testify.
It was then that one of them turned from a witness to a suspect.
"He went there to testify and suddenly became a criminal," Kusra Council Head Abd al Azim Wadi told Ynet.
"If the police keep punishing the villagers, they will not cooperate anymore," he cautioned.
The Shai District Police said in response: "This isn't a trick. Those involved in the incident arrived to be deposed in the course of an ongoing investigation into a criminal act with a nationalistic background.
"One of the testimonies revealed inaccuracies and contradictions, and he refused to answer all questions and fully cooperate. In light of this interrogators informed him he'll be questioned under warning, and should it be found out that he's involved in a criminal act – proceedings will be launched against him."
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