Unmarked police car rams youths’ car, killing one – Day 24

Ayelet Sandak; Photo credit: Honenu

See here for a list of posts connected to the case.
Wednesday, January 13, 2021
12:12 Jerusalem Magistrates Court deliberation nearing its close
During the deliberation, Jerusalem Magistrates Court Judge Eliad Weinshall responded to the Sandak family: “I see myself as the judge who will investigate the circumstances of the death of the youth [Ahuvia Sandak, z”l]. At the conclusion of the deliberation I will take the investigative material for examination.”
Honenu Attorney Ariel Atari, who is representing the Sandak family stated that “the Police Investigation Unit (PIU) decided not to interrogate the policemen that night [immediately following the accident]. For this reason and for additional reasons the PIU must not remain the unit that will investigate the incident.”
During the deliberation it was revealed that several senior members of the Attorney General’s office are involved with the case, among them Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Affairs, Shlomo (Mumi) Lemberger and Deputy State Prosecutor/Deputy Attorney-General for Special Issues, Nurit Litman. “The fact that the Justice Ministry is allowing the police to receive all of the material that the PIU is gathering, indicates a severe failure and keeps us awake at night,” added Atari.
More from Atari during the deliberation: “We learn from the statements by the Attorney General’s office that already on the same day [of the accident] the police action reports mentioned that there was contact between the cars [the police car and the youths’ car]. That means that hours after the incident the PIU was already aware that an act by policemen had caused a death. Furthermore, we learn that already on the same day the youths had said that the policemen had hit them and killed the youth [Ahuvia Sandak, z”l].
“On the same day, the head of the PIU decided not to investigate the policemen – no detentions, no interrogations, no prevention of coordinating testimonies, no prevention of tampering with evidence. In contrast with the handling of similar cases with which civilians are involved, the policemen arrived at the PIU headquarters and were sent home. I say parenthetically, to coordinate testimonies.
“Concurrently, the Justice Ministry decided to include the police in the investigation, thus the PIU investigation was revealed to the police. The original sin from prior to the founding of the PIU, investigating policemen by policemen, has returned. The investigation is tainted.”
Honenu Attorney Ariel Atari: “Death by recklessness was attributed to the youths [whose car had overturned]. This is what happens when policemen are involved with the investigation: The victim is turned into the accused. That is our biggest fear.
“Therefore we request that his honor enter the investigation. His honor has the authority.”
The Attorney General’s office requested that part of the deliberation be held in the presence of only one side, without the presence of Ahuvia Sandak’s parents or the presence of Honenu Attorney Ariel Atari, who is representing the family.

Honenu Atty. Ariel Atari; Photo credit: Honenu

13:03 Judge Weinshall to investigate circumstances of Ahuvia’s death
A short time ago, at the Jerusalem Magistrates Court, the deliberation on the request by the Sandak family to appoint a judge to investigate the death of their son, Ahuvia Sandak, z”l, ended.
During the deliberation Judge Eliad Weinshall said that he regarded himself as the judge who would investigate the death of the youth. At the conclusion of the deliberation Judge Weinshall took the entire investigative file from the representatives of the Attorney General’s office and stated that he would begin studying the material and would review the investigation.
Honenu Attorney Ariel Atari, who is representing the Sandak family: “Our request was to appoint a judge to investigate the circumstances of the death of Ahuvia, z”l. We are pleased that the judge decided to open this investigation today. In continuation of this welcome decision to appoint an investigative judge, today the court took upon itself a large portion of the investigation in order to begin to examine and to analyze the actions of the PIU and the Israeli Police in the case. We very much hope to receive a decision within the coming days.
“The Attorney General’s office unsurprisingly attempted to prevent an investigation at all by a judge, and requested that a judge not be appointed to investigate the circumstances of the death of Ahuvia, z”l. The court did not accept their position and in fact he [Judge Weinshall] took the investigative material and announced to us that he regarded himself as the investigative judge in this case. Later the representatives of the Attorney General’s office mentioned that they might request to present part of the material in camera. We will see.”
Ayelet Sandak, Ahuvia’s mother: “We believe, G-d willing, that the truth will come to light. This was not an easy deliberation. I watched how the State Attorney fought with all her strength and might to defend murderers. This is a very sad day for the State of Israel. I hope and very much believe that we will see a genuine change soon and quickly. There will be so many more investigations… The investigations are so dragged out and prolonged. We hope very much that justice will come to light as quickly as possible, with a great many prayers. Thank you very much to the People of Israel for supporting us. We have not stopped receiving support and encouragement. The People of Israel and the public know the truth. They say that the light of the sun is the best purifier.
“My faith hasn’t been damaged by the courts, rather my faith in the PIU and in the Israeli Police, who from the first second behaved in a manner which screams to the Heavens. As a family, as of this moment at which I am speaking to you, we have not received an official notice of our son’s death from the Israeli Police, and that is horrifically absurd and an injustice which calls out to the Heavens. But, thank G-d, we, the People of Israel, are a people of truth and justice. Everything will work out.”

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