Challenging Attorney General's Failure to Indict Police Who Shot and Killed 17-Year-Old Mahmoud Sadi.

HCJ 12000/04, Labiba Sadi and Adalah v. The Attorney General.

Petition submitted to Supreme Court in 12/04, demanding that the Court order the AG to file a criminal indictment against two Israeli police officers who shot and killed Mahmoud Sadi, a Palestinian citizen of Israel from Led (Lod). The petition was submitted after the State Attorney’s Office rejected an appeal filed by Adalah in 4/04 against the decision of the Ministry of Justice Police Investigation Unit (“Mahash”) to close the investigatory file against the two police officers - Yogev Kogon and Efi Tshuva - in 9/04. Like Mahash, the State Attorney’s Office claimed that the evidence failed to indicate that the police officers committed any crime. Mr. Sadi was shot and killed in 12/03 in the town of Ramle. At the time of his death, Mr. Sadi’s car, containing Mr. Sadi and two other passengers, was stopped at a red traffic light. Two police cars surrounded the car, from which police officers then came out and shot no less than fifteen bullets in the direction of Mr. Sadi and his car. The police initially falsely alleged in public announcements that Mr. Sadi was one of the area's biggest drug dealers, and that he had pointed a gun at one of them from his car.

However, according to the officers' testimonies, only one police officer, Officer Tshuva, who shot Mr. Sadi in the chest, said that Mr. Sadi was pointing a gun or that anyone else in the car had a gun; in fact, Officer Kogon, who shot the fatal bullet which hit the back of Mr. Sadi's head told Mahash that there was “no” gun. In addition, the fingerprint report of the alleged gun held by Mr. Sadi did not have his fingerprints on it, and the autopsy report does not mention any gun residue on his hands. Further, an independent eyewitness to the events supports all of the evidence that Mr. Sadi did not pose any danger to the police. Based on a thorough review of the state’s evidence, Adalah argued in the petition that Mr. Sadi was killed by the police without posing any danger to them, and that their use of deadly force against him constitutes manslaughter, causing death by negligence, and causing harm with aggravating intent. Thus, based on all the facts, none of which are disputed by the parties, Adalah argued that the decision not to indict the police officers is an error of law and must be overturned by the Court. Adalah further emphasized that the decision legitimizes the dangerous use of force by the police against citizens in general, and demonstrates an almost total disregard for the right to life of Palestinian citizens of the state.

Result: In 09/05, the Supreme Court supported the respondent’s position and requested that Adalah withdraw its petition. The Court’s decision did not take into account the testimonial and physical evidence which supported Adalah’s position that Mr. Sadi did not pose an immediate threat to the police officers at the scene of the crime.

H.C. 12000/04, Labiba Sadi and Adalah v. The Attorney General (petition withdrawn).