MK Son Har-Melech filed PIU complaint for sexual assault
Friday, February 17, 2023, 7:57 This week (Wednesday), during the destruction of a vineyard near Shilo (includes video clips), border policemen sexually assaulted Member of Knesset Limor Son Har-Melech (Otzma Yehudit) and violated her parliamentary immunity. Last night, Honenu Attorney Eladi Weisel filed a serious complaint with the Police Investigation Unit (PIU) on her behalf against the policemen who were involved with the assault, among them senior officers who were two of the commanders at the destruction. In the complaint, Weisel described the incident and demanded that the PIU immediately suspend the policemen involved and put them on trial:
During the destruction of the vineyard, Chief Superintendent Shahar Yitzhaki, Superintendent Yassir Assadi, Officer Shmuel Asoulin, and an additional policeman applied patently illegal force in a humiliating and invasive manner that greatly violated the privacy and modesty of MK Son Har-Melech. One of the central roles of a Knesset member is to survey the activities of the authorities and to that end, a Knesset member is granted fundamental immunity and freedom of movement. "The call by the officer to surround the MK is an illegal order that constitutes a serious violation of the parliamentary immunity granted to her by law," wrote Weisel in the complaint.
Weisel rebuffed the claim that it was a life-threatening situation: "Even if the life of the MK had been threatened, and [the police had] the authority to revoke her immunity – which is completely refuted – the manner in which the revocation was carried out was forbidden and outrageous. If the policemen had wanted to form a barrier between the MK and the tractor in order to allow the tractor to pass, then they could have done so in less invasive ways and not by completely depriving the MK of her freedom of movement."
With regard to the sexual assault experienced by the MK, the complaint stated, "The policemen did not only trap the MK between their arms, but when she tried to escape the ring, they went so far as to squeeze her body between their shoulders. The height of the assault occurred when the MK was crushed between the policemen's shoulders and she succeeded in freeing her upper body from the ring, but her lower body was still inside. At this point, one of the policemen pressed up against the MK and thrust his leg between her legs.
"As one can see and can hear in the recording of the incident, even the police commander was astounded by what he saw and when he understood what the officer in his charge was doing, he immediately shouted to him, 'No, no, no, no! What are you doing!?,' and a shocked expression came over his face."
Weisel emphasized the severity of the policeman's act: "When a man thrusts his leg between the legs of a woman without receiving consent, it is a serious and violating act which constitutes at least assault with a sexual aspect and under certain circumstances is likely to be considered sexual harassment."
In conclusion, Weisel leveled sharp criticism at the policemen: "It is intolerable for officers in the Israel Police to allow themselves to blatantly disregard important rights and thus to harm a member of Knesset. The assault-harassment which concluded the incident would not have occurred without the long series of violations and abuses that preceded it and that greatly influenced the general atmosphere in the police, which stood behind the conduct described above. In light of this, the policemen must be suspended from their duties at least until they are put on trial, and an investigation into the incident must be launched."
Honenu Attorney Eladi Weisel stated, "This was a shocking incident that crossed all red lines. Policemen publicly trampled the law by blatantly disrespecting the parliamentary immunity, dignity, and modesty of a member of Knesset. This must not pass quietly. The brutality of the policemen with regard to the member of Knesset reflects the 'ruah hamefaked' [tone set by a commander] that guided the destruction of the vineyard and that led to the violence against settlers who were at the site. It is expected that the PIU will thoroughly investigate the incident and put the policemen involved on trial."