Honenu details flaws in investigation of Ahuvia Sandak’s death

Updated: Aug 3

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.

Ahuvia Sandak, z”l; Photo courtesy of the family

Monday, January 11, 2021, 16:30 Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado wrote a letter to Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Affairs, Shlomo (Mumi) Lemberger, detailing the flaws in the investigation by the Police Investigation Unit (PIU) of the police car chase which resulted in the death of Ahuvia Sandak, z”l. Yado explained that he understood from Lemberger’s letter that the Deputy Attorney General gave the head of the PIU unlimited trust, however as far as he and the public were concerned, their confidence in the investigation had already been damaged. Additionally, Yado wrote that the information indicates many flaws in the investigation. “The starting point of someone on the outside is ‘respect, but also suspect,’ or be wary while respecting. We are already past that place. As spectators from the side, watching the the process of the investigation, we already have many indications that there have been serious flaws and distortions in the investigation.

Scene of the accident; Photo credit: Elazar Riger

“The indications will be fully examined immediately after we receive the investigative material at the times set by law.” Yado decided to compile the flaws and to arrange all of the material into one document. In his letter he detailed the flaws in the work by the police investigators and the flaws in the investigation by the PIU. Yado enumerated six central flaws, among them “the description of the accident in the requests to detain [the injured youths as suspects] while consistently and intentionally omitting mention of the police car ramming and damaging the youths’ car.” Another flaw is “the description of the accident in a false claim verbally before the court in a deliberation on 28/12/2020 in which the fact that the police car collided with the youths’ car, which overturned, was omitted.” Yado wrote that the claim “was a lie. This lie was knowingly stated. Later in the court minutes the investigators discussed the expert opinion of the police traffic inspector who described the car ramming. Policemen lied for the benefit of other policemen so that the remand of the youths would be extended. The lie itself under these circumstances borders on a criminal offense.” An additional flaw is the omission of the fact that the car the youths were driving belonged to the Sandak family according to a search on the police car console. Also, the interrogators treated the policemen positively during interrogation, saying that they had risked their lives and “done holy work”. Whereas the interrogators related to the claims against the policemen as defamation. The last flaw that Yado enumerated was the failure of the police investigators to inform the judges ruling on the youths’ remand of the suspicions of the PIU investigatory team with regards to the police action reports of the policemen involved with the car ramming. “According to the letter by Mr. Moshe Sa’ada [Deputy Director of the PIU] the head of the investigatory team suspected that the delay – a five-hour delay – in filling out the reports was intentional. This information and these suspicions concerning the reports that were prepared by the PIU were not brought before the judge ruling on the youths’ remand with regards to the requests filed by the Central Unit of the Tel Aviv Police against the youths, and that is an additional distortion of justice.” Afterwards, Yado enumerated six more flaws in the work by the PIU, among them the decision of the PIU head to release the policemen without interrogation under warning and without detaining them on suspicion of tampering with evidence in the case of a death, and also delaying the interrogation of the policemen until Thursday, 24/12/2020. With regards to the latter, Yado wrote that “there is no precedence for delaying investigation of suspicion of causing death for three days. This is an unprecedented failure for the Attorney General’s office and not only unprecedented but rather incomprehensible in relation to what is accepted and expected.” Yado also cited releasing the policemen from the interrogation without the condition of not making contact with each other and how the investigation completely ignored the conduct of the police after the youths’ car overturned. “On 6/1/2021, the medic who was first on the scene was interviewed on a major news program on Channel 20 [Israeli]. The medic stated that he had not been summoned to testify to the PIU. Over two weeks have passed since the accident and the PIU has not summoned for testimony the medic who arrived first on the scene.” Another claim is that the PIU did not summon the youths to file an official complaint with the PIU after they were released from the detention center. Despite the fact that on 27/12/2020 the PIU was informed in writing that the minors had been released and that they were joining the complaint in the crime victim case because they had been injured and evacuated to the hospital. “Since the [PIU was informed] a week and a half has passed, and the minors have not been summoned to testify. The youths experienced the incident. They have testimony to give. How can the charges against the policemen be investigated without taking testimony from the youths?” Yado concluded: “These are the doubts we have regarding the flaws in the proceedings. We do not have access to the proceedings and cannot investigate the doubts. As someone who is involved with the proceedings and stands at the head of his department, we present to you the doubts so that the matter may be settled, because the trust that you place in the proceedings is based on our doubts of it and so that the flaws will be corrected concurrently.” “The opinion of the traffic inspector we brought mentions a car ramming, which does not correspond to the announcement by [police reporter] Moshe Nusbaum in the media that the policemen will not be indicted.”

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