Israel police officers.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Two Border Police officers accused of beating an Arab man they misidentified as a terrorist in a Jerusalem stabbing attack last May were indicted Tuesday by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, following an investigation by the Justice Ministry’s Police Internal Investigations Department.
According to the indictment, the two officers – identified as Oshri Ohayon, 22, of Beit Shemesh and Yosef Abadi, 21, of Rishon Lezion – were responding to a stabbing attack at Lion’s Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City.
In the heat of the search for the perpetrator, Abadi misidentified an Israeli-Arab man as a suspect and allegedly struck him in the face with the butt of his rifle. When the unidentified man demanded an explanation, the indictment states, both Abadi and Ohayon allegedly punched him in the face and pistol- whipped him in the back of the head.
When the Arab man pleaded with the officers to stop, saying he was a new father, the officers allegedly told a third unidentified policeman to shoot him, claiming he was armed with a knife, before punching him in the groin.
As Abadi and Ohayon began to walk away, the man – who sustained injuries to his head, right eye, stomach, back and waist – threatened to file a police complaint, at which time one of the officers allegedly loaded a clip in his automatic rifle, walked back to the man, and struck him again with the butt, this time in the chest.
In other incidents, following Saturday’s stabbing attack in the Old City, police on Monday arrested two Muslim clerics identified as Hasnin Zahnir and Sami Abed Fatiha, both of whom work at al-Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount.
Due to a gag order, few details have emerged regarding their alleged roles in the stabbing of two Jewish teenagers on Hagai Street. The terrorist, identified as 17-year-old Ahmad Jazal from the West Bank, was shot and killed after he fled the scene and stabbed a police officer who chased him.
The Israel Police filed another indictment last month against Special Patrol Unit officer Moshe Cohen, after Cohen was captured on video beating an Arab truck driver in east Jerusalem. Cohen resigned from the force on Monday.
Eliyahu Kamisher contributed to this report.