Friedmann: Police officers mustn't investigate complaints against police

Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann said Tuesday he intends to sever the link between the Israel Police and the Justice Ministry's Police Investigations Department because of concerns that the PID is often too lenient with policemen. Friedmann was responding to allegations by MK Arye Eldad (National Union-National Religious Party), who accused PID of whitewashing policemen under investigation. Eldad and two other MKs from his party, Benny Elon and Effi Eitam, were injured by police during a protest against the demolition of nine illegally built homes at the unauthorized outpost of Amona in Samaria on February 1, 2006. Friedmann said that the concerns revolved around the fact that the PID took its investigators from the ranks of the police. After working "on loan" for the Justice Ministry, the investigators generally returned to the police. Since they were aware that their careers were vested there, they did not want to go hard on those they were ordered to investigate for fear of future consequences. "I will try to make certain that the PID investigators are independent and that they will not have any contact with the police from the day they enter the PID or that we will recruit PID investigators from outside the police force," Friedmann said. He also said the Justice Ministry would have to establish some kind of monitoring agency to examine a sample of all the cases handled by the PID. Also on Tuesday, Friedmann told MK Avraham Ravitz (United Torah Judaism) that he had not dropped his plans to pass legislation to prohibit the High Court of Justice from dealing with citizenship issues, including the provisional law banning Palestinian men between the ages of 18 and 35 and women between of 18 and 25 who marry Israeli spouses from moving to Israel. The problem was that he had run into coalition problems, he said. "As you and other MKs know, every bill that I initiate that in any way restricts High Court intervention in certain areas does not pass completely quietly," Friedmann said. "So these things and the various reforms are like medicine. You have to take them in the proper doses and at the proper time. We will have to see when to take this dose and how we can proceed with this legislation."