Cop found guilty of assault, conspiracy in beating

Court convict police officer for his part in a horrifying saga of physical abuse and subsequent gang rape of American immigrant teen.

Police car in Tel Aviv at night 311 (photo credit: Yoni Cohen)
Police car in Tel Aviv at night 311
(photo credit: Yoni Cohen)
The Haifa Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday convicted police officer Amir Rabah of assault and obstruction of justice for his part in a saga of physical and sexual abuse suffered by a teenage boy who made aliya with his parents from Miami in 2006.
Rabah was one of three policemen accused of beating “S.” in his squad car after he was picked up for public urination one night in November 2009. Rabah beat S. repeatedly before taking him to the Karmiel police station, where he and two other officers were suspected of beating him while his parents heard his cries from outside the interrogation room.
The other two policemen, Ataf Barkat and Rimon Hinawi, were found not guilty, with judges saying that it was ultimately their word against that of S.
Rabah was found guilty largely because a fellow police officer witnessed the beating and came forward to testify.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday, S.’s father, Lior, said that the conviction brings them some solace “because at least one of those bastards is going to be penalized, but at the same time two of them got away and are going to do it to someone else and get away with it.”
He added that his son still worries that the other two police will seek revenge on him.
S.’s suffering began when he was arrested for public urination and was accused of possessing hashish, which he and his parents allege police planted on him.
Because of the small amount of hashish, the police attained a five-day remand extension against S., placing him in the Kishon maximum security prison, where he was repeatedly gang raped by three juvenile offenders.
S. was eventually released and his family began their legal campaign against police, first by issuing a complaint to the Police Investigative Department.
In July 2011, the Haifa District Court found the three youths guilty of aggravated sodomy and aggravated assault for abusing S., which included piercing his ear with a piece of electric cable to mark him as a “slave.”
Lior and his wife are now preparing a civil suit against the police, the Prisons Service and the State of Israel, and Lior minces no words when speaking of the lawsuit.
“There’s a civil suit coming that’s going to look like Hiroshima. We’re going to come after them,” he said.
The family’s lawyer, Amir Meltzer, said the case represents a “total, colossal failure” by police and prison officials, and vowed the lawsuit “will break records for damages received from a lawsuit filed by a citizen against the state.”
Meanwhile, Lior said S. still deals with recurring nightmares and flashbacks, and he and his wife take turns staying up at night with him to calm him when he wakes screaming.