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Attorney General Menahem Mazuz said Monday he would hand over all the material gathered by the Police Investigations Department regarding police conduct during the October 2000 riots to an Israeli Arab human rights group, but rejected the group's demand to prohibit the State Attorney from heading an internal examination of the PID's findings.
After conducting a two-year investigation, the PID decided in September to close the files in the cases of 12 Israeli Arabs and a Palestinian who were shot to death by police using live or rubber bullets, without calling for a single indictment.
After the results of the PID investigation were announced, Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, which represents the families of the victims, demanded access to all the material collected by the investigators. Ten days later, when the Justice Ministry announced that State Attorney Eran Shendar would re-examine the findings of the PID investigators as though an appeal had been lodged against their report, Adalah charged that the decision was illegal because Shendar headed the PID during and after the riots and many of the allegations of wrongdoing by its clients were aimed at Shendar.
On Monday, Mazuz responded to Adalah's two-pronged attack.
"The investigative material regarding the October 2000 events will be made available to you, as you asked," Mazuz's deputy, Ran Nizri, wrote to Adalah attorney Marwan Dalal. Nizri wrote that Adalah could start photocopying the material on October 16.
But Nizri added that Mazuz "saw no grounds for the claim of a substantial and obvious conflict of interests" involved in the fact that Shendar's deputy, Attorney Shai Nitzan, would be in charge of examining the report. He added, however, that Mazuz would have the last word on the state prosecution's conclusions.
In response to Mazuz's letter, Adalah attorney, Dalal, told The Jerusalem Post "it was Mazuz's duty under the law to hand over the investigation material, and we asked for it immediately after the PID report was published."
He also reiterated that the examination "must not be within the authority of the State Attorney because he was head of the PID during October 2000 and bears the main responsibility for its omissions and failures to investigate the shooting deaths immediately after the events."