Ohana: I may probe investigations of police following killing of Ethiopian

Expects to continue in role if Likud wins despite Yariv Levin.

July 10, 2019 20:17
1 minute read.
Justice Minister Amir Ohana speaks at the Israeli Bar Association on June 10, 2019

Justice Minister Amir Ohana speaks at the Israeli Bar Association on June 10, 2019. (photo credit: YOSSI ZAMIR)

In the aftermath of the killing of an Ethiopian-Israeli under questionable circumstances by a police officer, Acting Justice Minister Amir Ohana said on Wednesday that he is weighing appointing a judge to probe whether the Police Investigations Department (PID) is whitewashing investigations of police misconduct.

For nearly two weeks the country has been rocked by protests and controversy surrounding the policeman’s shooting of 18-year-old Solomon Tekah under disputed circumstances, with supporters of Tekah saying that PID is going to ignore the evidence so it can clear the shooter.

Ohana said that the public’s loss of faith in PID goes beyond its handling of alleged police misconduct against Ethiopians and may encompass a general approach of being insufficiently ready to go after police officers.

He said that he wanted to strengthen mechanisms for critiquing authorities under the Justice Ministry, such as PID.

The acting justice minister added that he was not taking a particular side in the Tekah case or other specific cases, but argued that only through introspection could public faith in PID be restored.

Ohana also said that if the Likud leads the way to forming the next government – “something which is not an unreasonable scenario” – he expected to keep the justice portfolio.

There has been heavy speculation about that issue, as Likud MK Yariv Levin was offered the job before Ohana, and only refused because he did not want to take a mere “acting” ministerial role.

Until the next government is sworn in, Ohana’s powers are more limited by the fact that there is no fully functioning government.

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