Updated: Jan 31, 2022
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Tuesday, January 5, 2021, 12:44 On behalf of the Sandak family, Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado, who is representing the family, sent an urgent letter to the Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Affairs, Shlomo (Mumi) Lemberger, demanding that he recuse the head of the Police Investigation Unit (PIU), Keren Bar-Menachem, from the investigation of the death of Ahuvia Sandak, z”l. The demand was made in light of a letter from Moshe Sa’ada, the Deputy Director of the PIU, which was revealed by Erel Segal, a journalist. The letter reveals flaws in the investigation by the PIU and in the alarming conduct of Bar-Menachem with regards to the investigation. In the demand Yado mentioned that in light of the seriousness of the points noted in Sa’ada’s letter, which had already been revealed several days previously by a journalist from the HaAretz newspaper, Josh Breiner, he wrote a letter to Bar-Menachem requesting either refutation or clarification. “A reply from Ms. Bar-Menachem arrived quickly. However it provided neither refutation nor explanation,” wrote Yado in his demand. More from the demand: “The letter from Mr. Moshe Sa’ada to you, is a serious and harsh letter which reveals that Ms. Bar-Menachem thwarted the efficacy of the investigation from its beginning. Mr. Sa’ada wrote that the arrival of the reports from the policemen to the PIU was delayed by five hours. This is the most serious part of the matter, because the head of the investigative team got the impression that the delay was intentional. A five-hour delay in transferring police action reports indeed raises a definite suspicion of disrupting [the investigation].” Yado added that the suspicion of disrupting the investigation provides grounds for detaining the policemen: “According to section 13 (a) of the Detention Law this suspicion of disrupting [the investigation] provides grounds for detention by order of a judge. This suspicion provides grounds for detention by a policeman according to section 23 (a) (3) of the law. These grounds for detention are in addition to the grounds for detention existing in any event according to section 23 (a) (5) of the law, being as this is a suspicion of murder by negligence for which the penalty is life imprisonment. There is no doubt that genuine suspicion of disrupting [an investigation] of crimes causing death provides grounds for detention. “Ms. Bar-Menachem sabotaged the intent of the head of the investigative team and released the policemen without even interrogating them, thwarting and dealing a fatal and disrespectful blow to the investigation. It is obvious to all that this unprecedented act of release under circumstances such as these constitutes unusual discrimination of subjects of investigation. There is no doubt, and the public understands this very well, that the discrimination was done solely due to the fact that the suspects are policemen.” In conclusion, Yado demanded that Bar-Menachem be recused from the investigation: “Bottom line, Ms. Bar-Menachem thwarted the investigation by abuse of authority or at least by exercising unreasonable authority and status, and by giving an irrational instruction with regards to the goal expected from her as the head of the PIU. The grounds for release on which Ms. Bar-Menachem relied are false grounds in every way… At this stage, we demand that Ms. Bar-Menachem be completely recused from the investigation. It cannot be that after causing an investigation to fail from its critical starting point, Ms. Bar-Menachem will continue to be involved with the case. It is sad to see that the investigation of the death of the youth is being carried out in this way, so that the police are involved with investigating themselves, and the head of the PIU sabotaged the initiative of the head of the investigative team to investigate the policemen and the unavoidable detention of the policemen, according to objective criteria.”