Police chief testifies at murder inquest

Cohen addresses alleged negligence and possible cover up in incident which has led to the suspension of the police chief race.

December 14, 2010 05:54
1 minute read.
Police Insp.-Gen. David Cohen

Police insp.-gen. David Cohen 311. (photo credit: Ben Hartman)

Israel Police Insp.-Gen. David Cohen testified before an inquest being held by State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss on Monday into alleged negligence and a possible cover up in the double homicide of two police informants in 2006.

The inquest has led to the suspension of the race for the next police chief, after Lindenstrauss notified Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch that frontrunning candidate Cmdr.

Yohanan Danino, currently head of the southern police district, was a subject of interest in the inquest.

Two criminals-turned-police agents – Eyal Salhov, of the Ruhan crime organization, and a second agent from the Jarushi crime family, whose name is still being withheld – were murdered in 2006. To date, no suspects have been arrested for the slayings.

The inquiry was launched in 2009 following a complaint by a former senior intelligence-gathering officer, Dep.-Cmdr. Yisrael Abarbanel, who alleged that police had mishandled the affair, leading to the agents’ exposure and murder, and that the episode had then been whitewashed by police.

Danino and Cohen were both criticized by Abarbanel. Police have dismissed his claims as false and view his account as the rantings of an embittered former officer.

“The police inspector-general addressed the episode during his testimony. The meeting lasted around two-and-a-half hours, and at its end, the police inspector-general said he ‘trusted the state comptroller to get to the truth.

There is a wide gap between reports on the issue and the actual facts,’” police said in a statement.

Danino gave testimony to Lindenstrauss last week, as did Central District State Prosecutor Rahel Shiber. The testimonies have been sent on to Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein, who will have the final say on whether Danino can take part in the race for police chief.

“Many others who are linked to this episode will give testimony in the coming days,” the spokesman said.

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