State to prosecute soldiers in prisoner abuse photos

Prosecution says it won't prosecute Eden Abergil because she's no longer in IDF; cases involve soldiers pointing guns at blindfolded detainees.

By RON FRIEDMAN, JPOST.COM STAFF
June 16, 2011 20:50
1 minute read.

Facebook detained Palestinians 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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Deputy Attorney General Shai Nitzan said on Thursday that he would order the police to open a criminal investigation against former soldiers who took photos of themselves abusing Palestinian prisoners, then posted them on Facebook.

In one case the soldiers posted a photo of themselves pointing their rifles towards a handcuffed and blindfolded Palestinian prisoner, blurring out their faces so they couldn’t be recognized. In another, a soldier posted a video of himself dancing around a similarly subdued Palestinian woman.

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In response to a request to investigate the alleged abuse – as well as numerous other similar cases submitted in late 2010 by Yesh Din, and other human rights activists – Nitzan said that while in most of the cases the alleged offenses did not justify opening a criminal investigation, in light of the severity of the specific incidents, an investigation would be opened against the people featured in the photos.

Nitzan explained that the rest of the photos, while unbecoming, warranted only disciplinary actions – however, since the soldiers have since completed their service, such an avenue was no longer possible as the military laws no longer applied to them.

One of the photos in question was posted online in August 2008.

Nitzan said that he alerted the Military Prosecution to look into the practice and do everything in its power to make sure it wasn’t repeated, using both educational and disciplinary means.

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Yesh Din’s complaint – as well as similar complaints by other human rights groups – surfaced days after a national controversy broke out following the discovery that a discharged soldier, Eden Abergil, had posted on Facebook a picture of herself posing next to Palestinian detainees.

In his Thursday letter, Nitzan said he would not prosecute Abergil because she was no longer a soldier.

“Although this involves acts that are embarrassingly ugly, there’s no place to open a criminal investigation for abuse.” The actions do not meet the standards of criminal behavior, he added.

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