J'lem mob attack interrogations mistakenly deleted
By MELANIE LIDMAN
Police erase dozens of hours of video related to August lynch attack on Arab teenager; lawyers call for indictments to be thrown out.
Jerusalem police informed the Justice Ministry this week that they accidentally
deleted dozens of hours of video recorded interrogations related to the mob beating of
an Arab teenager in August.
The lost footage could make it harder to
convict the suspects, or could even undermine the severity of the convictions
and the sentences because the judges will have significantly less
Seventeen-year-old Jamal Julani, a resident of Ras-el- Amud,
was with three other friends on August 16, when he ran into a group of Jewish
youths in Zion Square. According to the indictments against the suspects, around
30 youth were prowling around downtown Jerusalem “looking to beat up Arabs.” The
youth gathered in Cat Square (Kikar Hatulot) and sang racist songs while
harassing passing Arabs, before a smaller group moved on to Zion Square where
they attacked Julani and his friends, the indictments stated. Julani fell as he
was attempting to flee and the attackers beat Julani unconscious. Paramedics who
arrived on the scene used CPR and defibrillators for more than 10 minutes before
his pulse returned, and evacuated him in critical but stable condition to
Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem neighborhood. He was
hospitalized for more than a week.
In the weeks following the incident,
Jerusalem police arrested nine minors and one adult, 19-year-old Shimon
Siman-Tov, in connection with the incident. Two of the suspects are
In September, the ten suspects were indicted for a variety of
charges including aggravated assault and battery, racial incitement and inciting
In many of the interviews, police could only transfer the first
hour of each videotaped investigation interview to a burned CD, while the rest
was erased with no way to retrieve it.
Jerusalem deputy police
spokeswoman Shlomit Bakshi confirmed the police had notified the Justice
Ministry of the lost footage but refused to comment further on the
The Justice Ministry recieves information in stages from the
police, so it only became clear how much footage was missing recently. Sources
said the loss was a technological glitch and not a conspiracy against Arab
Police apparently attempted to recover the information with
computer experts but were unsuccessful.
Defense lawyers for the suspects
slammed the announcement.
“The destruction of the investigation materials
by the police is another indication of the negligent way the police carried out
the investigation for this incident,” Ariel Atari, a lawyer for one of the
suspects, said on Tuesday. He said that the indictments against the suspects
should be thrown out because the investigative footage is not
Defense attorneys can use videotaped footage of the
investigations to prove a suspect was coerced or highlight differences between
the written report of the questioning and what the suspect said.