‘Ajami’ director’s brothers arrested

Tony Copti and Jiras Copti nabbed during row with police in Jaffa neighborhood.

February 8, 2010 03:13
1 minute read.
Police arrest assault suspect in Ajami

ajami arrest . (photo credit: Channel 2)

In an incident seemingly ripped straight from the Oscar-nominated film Ajami, two brothers of the film’s co-director Skander Copti were arrested in the eponymous Jaffa neighborhood on Saturday, during a scuffle with police.

Police said Tony Copti and Jiras Copti were arrested after they assaulted policemen, and confirmed that they were subsequently released and ordered to stay out of Jaffa for three days. Tony Copti had a bit part in and worked as a production manager for the film.

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In one scene in Ajami, police move in to arrest a drug dealer, and while they are attempting to detain him, locals swarm the squad car and tangle with the police, interfering with the arrest.

In Saturday night’s incident, witnesses said that a police patrol stopped a group of young men who were digging a hole, suspecting they were engaged in some sort of criminal activity. Residents maintained that the boys were burying a dog that had been run over nearby.

Witnesses said police began to separate and question the boys, and shortly thereafter, the two Copti brothers ran over and were arrested.

Police maintain the brothers disrupted the arrests and assaulted officers, a claim witnesses deny.

Last Tuesday, Ajami was one of five films nominated for the best foreign film Oscar, to be awarded on March 7 in Los Angeles – the third successive year that Israel is vying for this award, and its ninth nomination overall. No Israeli film has actually won.

The film presents a grim portrayal of the Ajami neighborhood in the mixed Jewish-Arab Jaffa, in which drugs and violence plague the lives of residents, and relations with the police are always tense.

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