'Police lied against settlers'

Court: Police to compensate Yitzhar residents for presenting them as outlaws.

March 15, 2010 12:44
1 minute read.
A view of Yitzhar.

yitzhar 1900. (photo credit: Courtesy)

The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court ruled that the police will have to compensate residents of the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar after officers misled courts and issued reports accusing several Yitzar residents of felonies they were not guilty of, the defendants’ lawyers said Monday.

The story begins in 2004, when an Arab shepherd claimed his goats were taken from him and held in a farm in Yitzhar. Police officers from the Samaria District let the shepherd into Yitzhar and allowed him, without confirming his complaint, to take the goats.

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The policemen ambushed Yitzhar’s residents, who chased the shepherd and returned the goats to the settlement. Yitzhar’s civilian security team, who were alerted to the scene following reports of the shepherd’s infiltration to the settlement, were arrested in the incident.

In Court, police officers Gil Deshe and Yaakov Golan presented the settlers as outlaws who assaulted the shepherd. An indictment was never served and the case has since been closed.

The Yitzhar residents, however, decided to hire a lawyer and pressed charges against police. They said the police, anxious to cast them in the role of lawbreakers, presented false reports to the court and to the media.

In Monday's ruling against police, the judge wrote that “from the reports, one can understand that the residents came to the shepherd, beat him, stole his goats and returned them to Yitzhar… but in the cross-examination Golan admitted that he had not seen any of this happen.”

The judge also accepted the settlers’ claim that “Deshe presented false statements as facts” during court hearings against the residents six years ago.

The residents were found to be victims of libel and will be rewarded NIS 10,000 each by the police. Overall, police would have to pay NIS 50,000 to cover the fine, lawyer fees and court costs.

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