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MPCID searched for “right-wing” expressions in detainees’ cell phones

Thursday, October 29, 2015, 11:14 A revealed document raised a storm: The Military Police Criminal Investigation Division (MPCID) gave an order to search for “right-wing expressions” in the cellular phones belonging to soldiers detained on suspicion of beating a terrorist. The document concerns the Nahal Hareidi Netzah Yehuda soldiers recently detained on suspicion of beating a terrorist detained in the area of Jenin during the current wave of terror. The military police gave an order to search for “right-wing expressions” in the cellular phones belonging to the soldiers. In the document MPCID investigators from the cyber crime division gave an order to examine the cellular phones belonging to the detained soldiers and specified “emphases for the search”. Among the emphases are “beating Palestinians” and also “right-wing expressions”, particularly in WhatsApp and Facebook. Honenu attorney Chai Haber, who is representing two of the soldiers said that the issue is a genuine scandal. “It is saddening and shocking to see that during the investigation MPCID investigators chose to search in the soldiers’ personal cellular phones not only for evidence connected to the investigation, but also for, according to their definition, ‘right-wing expressions’, something which constitutes not only an invasion of privacy, but also an invasion into areas which should not be of interest to the army. It is interesting to see that a search into left-wing expressions is not on the agenda. It appears that the army has given itself the goal of linking any soldier who ‘dares’ to belong to the right-wing side of the political spectrum to a criminal violation.” The seven soldiers are suspected of beating two or three terrorists in several incidents. The main incident is attributed to three of them. According to testimony given by the soldiers in the military investigation, a released terrorist detained in an operation in the area of Jenin was brought by them to the toilet, and when he refused to continue walking they applied reasonable force to him. The MPCID attributes to the soldiers bruises on the terrorist’s face, despite the fact that there is no disagreement that prior to the incident the detained terrorist had hit his own head against a wall and the floor several times. The soldiers claim that they were told that the incident would be handled within their unit, however despite the assurance their commanders transferred a complaint to the military police, who started a wave of detentions. Officials in the MPCID chose to believe the testimony of the terrorist who claimed that he hit his head against the wall because he wanted the soldiers to stop beating him. Soldiers present during the incident but not involved with it, on whose testimony the incrimination of the detained soldiers relies, testified that the terrorist hit his head against the wall and the floor without cause before he was brought to the toilet. Four other soldiers were detained over the past few days following the detention of the first three and they are suspected of beating terrorists in other incidents. One of them has been released from remand to his base, to which he is confined. Honenu attorneys Aharon Roza, Chai Haber, and Avi Pinarski are representing five of the soldiers. On Thursday, October 29 the Military Advocate General is expected to issue an indictment to all seven of the detained soldiers and to request an extension of their remand until the end of proceedings.

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