Second woman lodges complaint against Bar-Lev

Justice Ministry source says new revelation deliberately kept under wraps in order to "surprise" police commander in interrogation room.

November 22, 2010 18:50
2 minute read.
Second woman lodges complaint against Bar-Lev

bar-lev looking at us 298. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi )

A second woman has lodged a complaint against police Cmdr. Uri Bar-Lev, the Justice Ministry’s Police Investigations Department (PID) revealed on Monday, in a twist to the investigation which has rocked police brass and greatly increased the pressure on the embattled senior officer who is fighting to clear his name. The second woman alleged that sexual offenses took place “during a different time period” from the incidents alleged by “Alef,” the Public Security Ministry employee who complained against Bar-Lev last week, the Justice Ministry said in a statement on Monday evening.

A Justice Ministry source added that news of the second complaint was deliberately kept under wraps until Monday in order to “surprise Bar-Lev” in the interrogation room and not allow him time to prepare an answer to the suspicions ahead of time.

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A silent and stony-faced Bar-Lev emerged from the PID’s Jerusalem headquarters on Monday evening to face a crowd of reporters.

“I’ve already said what I have to say,” he said.

Earlier, when going in for questioning, Bar-Lev said, “I returned to Israel [from Washington] on my own initiative, and I am not armed with PR firms and legions of attorneys. I came with the truth, and this truth will win. I ask you all to wait patiently.” Bar-Lev landed at Ben-Gurion Airport on Sunday.

Bar-Lev was questioned for five hours on Monday, and cooperated fully, answering all questions put to him by interrogators, the PID said.

“We are taking various steps in the investigation and are collecting evidence.

The PID is aware of the public sensitivity of this investigation and is working to complete it as soon as possible,” the PID statement added.

Meanwhile, the police said it would not rush to any decision regarding suspending Bar-Lev from the force.

“In accordance with Israel Police regulations, the matter of the officer will be weighed by the relevant elements after the case material is received from the PID, as is standard practice,” the police said. “Until then, it is most desirable for the roulette of speculation on this matter to stop,” police added.

No immediate details on the second complaint were available on Monday evening.

Last week, the investigation led Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein to suspend the selection process for the next police chief, since Bar-Lev, the Israel Police attaché in Washington, was a front contender for the post.

Earlier, Weinstein turned down a request by MK David Azoulay (Shas), chairman of the Internal Affairs and Environment Committee to place a time limit on the investigation in order to limit the damage being done to the police’s image.

A letter sent from Weinstein’s office said a time limit “could harm the ability of the PID to fully investigate and verify the facts in order to reach the truth,” adding that this was the most important goal “specifically because of the high sensitivity and the implications for appointing the next police chief.”

Some in the police have viewed the investigation as part of a plot against the charismatic former Southern District head, who faced an attempt to expel him from the police by Cohen in 2008 – a claim denied by “Alef”’s lawyer on Sunday night.

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