Futile Investigation File Indicates Whitewashing of Torture Conducted By Israeli Police

Adalah files appeal against closure of PID probe into Israeli police brutality in Nazareth during the May 2021 events.

On 16 March 2023, Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, filed an appeal to Israel's State Attorney's Office against the decision of Israel's Police Investigation Department (PID) (“Mahash”) to close the complaint against the police for violence and severe violations of detainees' rights during May 2021 in the Nazareth Police Station, known as the "Moscobia”. 



Adalah submitted the original complaint on 7 June 2021, which included multiple sworn affidavits testifying to rampant, systemic Israeli police attacks and brutal beatings of Palestinian protesters, innocent bystanders, children, and even attorneys inside Nazareth's police station during the period of protests in the city during May 2021.


CLICK HERE to read more about Adalah’s complaint 

CLICK HERE to read first-hand testimonies from inside the Nazareth police station


In August 2021, in response to a query by MK Aida Touma Suleiman (Hadash/Joint List), then-Minister of Internal Security, Omer Bar-Lev, stated that a criminal investigation had been opened against the commander of the Nazareth station and other police officers. Following this claim, Adalah demanded his immediate suspension. (CLICK HERE to read more)


Nevertheless, on 30 June 2022, the PID issued its decision stating that it had closed the investigation, as “there was no basis for reasonable suspicion that the [respondent] committed a criminal offense”, while disregarding testimonies from victims, attorneys, and paramedics. These testimonies provided clear evidence of systemic Israeli police brutality, including physical, verbal, and psychological abuse of Palestinian citizens, indicating that Israeli officers ran a "torture room" inside the Nazareth police station. 


    CLICK HERE to read the PID’s decision [Hebrew]


In the appeal of this decision, filed by Adalah Attorney Nareman Shehadeh Zoabi, Adalah argues that the PID conducted a flawed investigation: it did not summon witnesses, including police officers, detainees, and paramedics who provided medical care at the station, and did not use the means at its disposal to legally establish a factual basis for the closure. Adalah also argued that the investigatory materials of the PID indicated that the Israeli police carried out an investigation with the intention of concealing evidence and hindering any genuine investigation, including by refusing to disclose documents.


    CLICK HERE to read Adalah’s appeal [Hebrew]


Adalah further argued that the police failed to collect testimonies from police officers, except for the police commander overseeing investigations and intelligence, who provided his testimony a staggering ten months after the events in question. His testimony contained several contradictions and inconsistencies, for instance, in relation to a specific detainee who had been held for hours and suffered severe injuries. On one hand, he suggested that the detainee must have sustained the injuries before arriving at the station, but on the other hand, he asserted that any detainees who arrived with injuries were promptly released. Adalah argued that the PID blindly accepted the commander's version of events without conducting any further investigation or taking measures to uncover the truth.


Adalah Attorney, Nareman Shehade Zoabi commented:

“The absence of any serious actions towards revealing evidence clearly demonstrates an unwillingness of the Israeli judicial system to investigate and prosecute Israeli police when the victims are Palestinian. Systematic impunity has remained a characteristic of a regime that continues to entrench racial supremacy and to establish separate law enforcement based on racial grounds.”