Adalah files complaint against police beating, abuse of lawyer during Haifa protest

Officers beat attorney Anan Odeh at protest, photographed him handcuffed and lying on the floor of Haifa police station.

Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel filed a complaint on 23 May 2018 to the Justice Ministry's Police Investigations Department (PID) on behalf of Attorney Anan Odeh demanding a criminal investigation into the actions of police officers who arrested him and others, including Mossawa Center Director Jafar Farah, at a demonstration against the killings in Gaza held in Haifa last Friday, 18 May.


In the complaint, Adalah Attorney Sawsan Zaher argued that there were serious suspicions that police officers committed criminal offenses against Attorney Odeh and other detained protesters, which she detailed based on his testimony.


According to the complaint, Attorney Odeh and his family tried to leave the demonstration after police began assaulting and arresting demonstrators. However, police officers prevented them from doing so, forcibly pushing them back. Then Attorney Odeh was beaten and arrested. After he was taken to the police station, a police officer photographed him and the other detainees after they were handcuffed and lying on the ground.


Attorney Odeh’s plastic handcuffs were tightened around his wrists, which caused him great pain. When he approached one of the police officers and told him that the cuffs were too tight, the officer responded, “I don’t care.”


The complaint also contained details about what happened when Attorney Odeh was held in a holding room at the police station. Based on his testimony: “An injured young man who had been detained was brought in bleeding from the area close to his left eye. When Attorney Odeh asked for the young man to be taken to receive medical treatment, the police officers began to scream, swear and threaten to strike him.”


Then, according to Attorney Odeh, “The Director of the Mossawa Center, Jafar Farah, was brought in and, after seeing the young man injured and bleeding, asked the police to transfer him for treatment. The request angered the policeman, who hit and kicked Mr. Farah. When Mr. Farah lost his balance, the police officer struck him on the leg and pushed him to the ground.” Mr. Odeh later found out that the injured young man was Mr. Farah’s son.


The complaint continues, “Mr. Farah fell down between my client [Attorney Odeh] and the injured young man, while the police officer continued screaming, swearing, intimidating and threatening all the detainees who were on the ground with their hands cuffed behind their backs.” Attorney Odeh added that the officer called Farah “a son of a bitch”, and told him “I’ll show you” while using his arms to indicate that he was going to hit him.


Later, “the police officer ordered the Director of the Mossawa Center to stand up. After attempting to stand and with his hands bound behind his back, the latter replied that he was unable to and that he was in pain. The officer began to scream, grabbed him with his hands, and lifted him violently, causing Mr. Farah to cry out in pain.”


Attorney Odeh emphasized that the police did not remove his handcuffs for his meeting with his lawyer, and that the police denied the detained protesters food and drink throughout the 25 hours of their detention at the police station, despite their requests. He described how police officers refused to identify themselves and removed their name and identification badges from their uniforms, and that none of them was interested when he told them that he was a lawyer.


The testimony concluded, “Based on all of the above, there are serious suspicions that police officers committed criminal offenses that must be investigated, including violations of the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, and that the degrading treatment was intentional and intended to humiliate the detained protesters.


CLICK HERE to read the complaint [Hebrew]