Israel-Palestine News Compiler

1 April 2009: Policeman who killed Palestinian sentenced to 8½ years in prison, in incident exposed by B’Tselem

Posted in 1 by beyondtheborder on April 25, 2009

Lazla and three other policemen threw Abu Hamdiya from a jeep moving at high speed after they had abducted, beaten, and abused him. His head struck the pavement with great force, killing him. The policemen also abused other Palestinians in Hebron. The entire affair was exposed by B’Tselem and the Palestinian human rights organization al-Haq.

It is questionable whether a sentence of 8½ years is compatible with the gravity of the offense. However, bringing the policeman to justice, even if only partially, is a rare instance in which the justice system in Israel has met its obligation to hold security forces accountable for illegally harming Palestinians. As a rule, the authorities refrain from enforcing the law on soldiers and police officers who commit crimes of violence against Palestinians. Presumably, the tragic results of this case, together with the high profile it was given by the media, led the authorities to deviate from their custom and prosecute the policemen.

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The incident began on 30 December 2002, at about 8:00pm when a Border Police jeep stopped next to Imran Abu Hamdiyeh, who was with his friends outside his house in Hebron. Eyewitnesses told B’Tselem that border policemen got out of the jeep, put Abu Hamdiya inside the vehicle and drove off. A few of Abu Hamdiya’s friends headed toward Hebron’s industrial area, a place where they knew Border Police officers beat Palestinians. About forty minutes after the policemen grabbed Abu Hamdiya, his friends found his body at the industrial area, lying by the side of the road.

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Testimony of Ra’id A-Rajbi, age 29, resident of area H2 in Hebron:

The door at the back of the jeep was open and one the officers sitting at the back called to us. Naim got to him first and then the three of us. There were four officers in the jeep. The officer who had talked to me had dark skin and his hair was combed sideways. He talked Arabic and asked, in a polite and calm manner, “Why are you standing here?” We said that there was no curfew and he confirmed. He then asked for our ID’s, looked at them quickly and asked us for our ages. We answered him, and then he ordered Naim, Falah and me to leave and told ‘Imran to stay and to take off his coat. I then tried to interfere and said that ‘Imran’s father had died two days ago. The truth is he died forty days ago. The officer said he won’t harm him and that he just wanted to talk to him. I tried to stay with him, but the policeman ordered me to go away. I turned and walked away and after about five meters I looked back and saw the jeep driving away. I couldn’t see ‘Imran and I’m sure he was on the jeep.

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