Adalah, Mossawa and Mezan to Attorney General: Policemen who killed Kheir Hamdan continue to work, while Mahash fails to investigate crime

Letter argued that police continue to practice what the Or Commission called a 'culture of lying' rooted within the police institution.

On 13 November 2014, Adalah, Mossawa and Mezan (Nazareth) sent an urgent letter to the Israeli Attorney General (AG) demanding that immediate and urgent measures be taken regarding the killing of Kheir Hamdan on 8 November 2014 in Kufr Kana. In the letter, the organizations requested that the AG immediately suspend all the policemen who were at the crime scene, and open a criminal investigation under the direct supervision of the AG’s office, as required by law.


The letter included statements made by the Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett praising the officers and calling Kheir Hamdan a "crazed terrorist". It also contained statements made by Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch the week before concerning events in Jerusalem, in which he stated that anyone who attacks Israeli Jewish citizens should be killed immediately. The organizations' argued that such statements constitute incitement to violence against Arab citizens, and also demanded the opening of a criminal investigation in this regard. The letter further demanded that the AG establish a special body to investigate the police’s treatment of Arab citizens. The organizations' emphasized that the killing of Hamdan "is a new chapter in the history of the relationship between the Israeli police and Arab citizens."


The letter further noted media reports about the police’s intent to close the file without opening an investigation.  This news is not surprising given that Mahash has consistently closed investigation files into acts of police violence. According to official statistics obtained by Adalah from the Ministry of Justice, more than 93% of complaints that were submitted to Mahash between 2011 and 2013 were closed without any measures taken against police officers; 72% of which were closed without any investigation. Moreover, the fact that “the policemen involved in the killing were not suspended to this day, and continue their work as normal, proves once again that Mahash is neither professional nor objective, and does not aim to achieve justice. These practices violates Arab citizens’ status and violates their right to equality and justice," the letter emphasized.


The Israeli police continue to practice what the Or Commission of Inquiry in 2003 called a “culture of lying” that was rooted within the police institution. The letter clarified that, “the initial information released by the police about the incident was false, and was only refuted because of video footage of the incident. It is this behavior that raises serious doubts around the testimonies of the police who were present at the incident.” 


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