Ahuvia Sandak case: Is the cover-up continuing?
Updated: Aug 1, 2022
Honenu is representing those who are insisting on the investigation of the death of Ahuvia Sandak, z”l, who was tragically killed in a police car chase on Tevet 6 5781/ December 21, 2020, and defending the many who are being detained while demonstrating for change in police behavior. The car Ahuvia was in with four other boys overturned when the police car collided with it from behind. Please click here for a list of posts connected to the case.
Thursday, April 29, 2021, 20:05 On Thursday, April 29, David Rosen, the Ombudsman of the State Representatives in the Courts, responded to the complaint by the Lavi Civil Rights Organization against Attorney Keren Bar-Menachem, the head of the Police Investigation Unit, over her improper interference in the investigation of the policemen involved with the death of Ahuvia Sandak, z”l in a car ramming accident. At the time of the incident, Bar-Menachem issued an order not to interrogate the policemen. The complaint claims that her conduct damaged the investigation and allowed the policemen to coordinate testimonies over a period of several days. See here for a request by Sandak’s parent to recuse the PIU head from the investigation and here for a related post about flaws in the investigation. Bar-Menachem’s testimony was revealed in the ombudsman’s reply to the complaint. She admitted for the first time that she was the one who ordered that the detectives from the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police who were involved with Sandak’s death not be interrogated. She also admitted that she opened the investigation only after she received explicit instructions from the Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Affairs, Shlomo (Mumi) Lemberger, several days after the accident. According to Bar-Menachem’s testimony, she gave the order not to interrogate the policemen because she was not aware of any criminal charges against the policemen. It should be noted that within several hours after the incident the media publicized that the police car had collided with the youths’ car and also publicized the testimony of the youths’ attorneys, who reported that the youths had said that ramming by the police car was what led to the lethal outcome of the accident. Bar-Menachem was of the opinion that the claims by the youths of their friend’s murder had been made due only to their heightened emotional state. Rosen wrote the testimony of Bar-Menachem: “In fact, at this stage, in the evening on the day of the incident, suspicion of committing a criminal offense within the purview of the PIU, by any of the policemen, had not yet arisen.” Rosen further wrote that the claim of an “intentional ramming”, was expressed only the following day, in a letter from Honenu. At this stage it could only have been claimed that the accident was caused due to negligence on the part of the policemen, which is classified as “a road accident case”, which is not within the purview of the PIU. According to Bar-Menachem, she was informed only on the morning following the accident that there was a suspicion of a criminal act by the policemen, and that was due to a complaint filed by Honenu. Rosen: “According to Attorney Bar-Menachem, the complaint by Honenu was, in fact, the first complaint to the PIU in which it was claimed that the collision between the cars was due to a ‘ramming’ by the police car and therefore there was a suspicion of ‘murder’ by the policemen who participated in the car chase.”
Honenu would like to remind our readers that on the evening of the day of the incident all of the news media publicized that the policemen were suspected of a criminal offense and mass demonstrations were held protesting the conduct of the police in the incident. Ombudsman Rosen, also confronted Attorney Bar-Menachem regarding claims by her deputy, Attorney Moshe Sa’ada, that on the day of the incident the youths had claimed that their friend was murdered by the policemen. Concerning this claim, Bar Menachem replied that it was made only because of “a heightened emotional state”. Rosen: “Regarding the claim by Attorney Sa’ada, according to which merely hours after the incident one of the detainees [the youths who were in the car with Sandak were all detained] claimed during interrogation that ‘It’s all lies, and they killed my friend,’ Attorney Bar-Menachem claimed that it was a general placement of blame on the policemen, which lacked a factual description of what had occurred during the incident and that it seemed to have been said in an emotional state after the incident in which the youths’ friend had been killed.” An astounding piece of information revealed in Attorney Bar-Menachem’s reply to Ombudsman Rosen is that despite the complaint filed by Honenu and despite the circumstances, the PIU chose to interrogate the police detectives involved with the incident only after three days had passed: “… accordingly, on 24.12.2020, nine policemen were interrogated, four of them under warning, by PIU interrogators, over their involvement with the incident which led to the death of the deceased.” In an unusual step, PIU head Attorney Bar-Menachem requested that Ombudsman Rosen not publicize her testimony. At the end of the letter, the ombudsman accepted her testimony and rejected the complaint by the Lavi Civil Rights Organization.
Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado: “Several hours after the accident, Honenu Attorney Nati Rom was interviewed by the media [click and scroll down] and said in the name of the four youths [who had been in the car with Sandak] with whom he met, that the police car had collided with the youths’ car. Many thousands of protesters went out to demonstrate in the streets, but only Keren Bar-Menachem, who is entrusted and authorized to investigate the truth, supposedly did not hear and did not know about the claims of a car ramming. Bar-Menachem’s feigned innocence in her reply to David Rosen is baseless and refuted by many testimonies. We will strive to investigate the truth regarding the circumstances of the accident, the culpability for the death of Ahuvia, and the cover-up of the police investigation. The Lavi Civil Rights Organization: “One hand washes the other. Systematically, the oversight departments are failing in their duties when the objects of review hold senior positions in the Justice Ministry.”