Anger and bewilderment descended upon an American- Israeli family from Miami on
Tuesday, when the Haifa Magistrate’s Court handed down a sentence of three
months probation for a Karmiel police officer they say beat their teenage son
repeatedly while in custody in November 2009.
“Justice in Israel is
bullshit. What type of person is going to come forward and complain now?
This just gives the cops a license to abuse people,” said Lior, the father of
the abused “S.”
In early May, the magistrate’s court convicted police
officer Amir Rabah of assault and obstruction of justice for his part in a
terrible saga of physical and sexual abuse suffered by S., who moved to Israel
with his parents from the United States.
Rabah was one of three police
officers accused of beating S. in a squad car after he was picked up for
urinating in public one night in November 2009. Rabah struck S. before taking
him to the Karmiel police station, where he and two other officers were
suspected of beating him repeatedly while his parents heard his cries from
outside the interrogation room.
The other two police officers, Ataf
Barkat and Rimon Hinawi, were found not guilty of assault and conspiracy, with
judges saying that it was ultimately their word against that of S. Rabah was
found guilty largely because a fellow police officer witnessed the beating and
came forward to testify.
In the court’s ruling on Tuesday, the judges say
that Rabah only slapped S. in the squad car, which it says was “not serious
violence” and caused the complainant no injury. In addition, they said that they
took into consideration what they said was the fact that S. spit at Rabah and
insulted his family, and that they could not prove that S. was beaten while in
the interrogation room at the Karmiel police station.
The judges also
referred to Rabah as a moral, veteran police officer who carries out his job
with devotion, adding that while the incident was a dereliction of duty, it did
not illustrate his true character as a police officer.
After S. was
picked up by the police, a small amount of hashish was found on him and he was
taken for a five-day remand extension at the Kishon maximum security prison,
where he was repeatedly gang-raped by three juvenile offenders.
rapists were convicted in July 2011 of aggravated sodomy and aggravated assault
for the attack, during which they marked S. as their “slave” by piercing his ear
with a piece of electric cable.
Amir Meltzer, who is representing the
family, said that in the coming months, he will present a lawsuit against the
Israel Police for the assault on S. and against the Prisons Service for
the trauma he suffered while in custody.