Assault case closed despite evidence

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Sunday, August 28, 2022, 19:56 Despite the evidence, the Israel Police decided to close a case against an Arab who attacked a yeshiva student in early January. Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher, who is representing the student, appealed to the police on his behalf to reopen the case and continue the investigation.

The incident occurred when the student was walking on Agripas Street in Jerusalem, keeping to himself. Suddenly, an Arab driving a cart bumped into him. He turned to the Arab and told him, “Be careful. What if you had hit an elderly woman?” To his surprise, the Arab blatantly cursed him with a racist slur. When the student turned around to ask the Arab what he was doing, the Arab punched him in the eye. The student fell to the ground, but the Arab continued to punch him in the face, causing bruises around his eye and bleeding in his eye. His nose was also broken.

The Arab fled and hid in a nearby paint store. The student called the police and followed the Arab. Policemen who arrived on the scene detained both of them and interrogated the student under warning because of a counter-complaint that the Arab filed against him. The student waited at the police station for approximately three hours, while he was bleeding around his eye. After he was released, he went to an emergency medical clinic for treatment.

Recently, the police decided to close the case despite the unequivocal evidence – a video clip documenting the incident and a clear admission from the assailant – which indicates a serious attack by the Arab and no attack by the student. Additionally, the police refused to transfer to Bleicher the video clips of the attack because the suspect is a minor.

Bleicher appealed the closing, stating that the video clip is sufficient evidence to put the attacker on trial. Likewise, contradicting testimonies given by the attacker during interrogations raise serious questions about his credibility. Bleicher stated in the appeal, “The outcome of the incident is serious and indicates brutality on the part of the appellant. The baseless and unreliable claim of self-defense cannot justify closing the case against the violent suspect.”

Bleicher added that even if the claim of self-defense were accepted, it would not explain why the attacker punched the victim several times in the face and did not merely shove him away, and it certainly does not explain attacking the victim while he was sprawled on the ground. “Closing the case under these circumstances is illegal, against the public interest of eradicating violence, and wears thin the trust of the public in the law enforcement system,” stated Bleicher. Therefore, the victim appealed to the police to reopen the case, investigate the attacker, and put him on trial for aggravated assault.

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