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Severe police brutality in Ofra

Wednesday, April 5, 2017, 22:53 On behalf of protesters in Ofra, Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher filed a detailed complaint with the Police Investigation Unit (PIU) describing police brutality on the roof of the Kefir family’s house in Ofra. Two of the protesters on the roof of the house, a married 28-year-old father of several children and a yeshiva student, described severe police brutality, including spraying pepper spray for no reason, punches, kicks and repeated, deliberate injuries to intimate parts of the body. The two above-mentioned protesters were in the loft of the house, on the part which had a concrete floor and was separated from the rest of the protesters on the roof by a concrete partition. “While my clients were in the loft, policemen climbed a ladder to the roof. The policemen noticed my clients and one of them sprayed pepper spray at them. My clients had not shown any sign of active resistance and the policemen did not warn them before using pepper spray, as is required by police regulations,” wrote Bleicher in the complaint. At this point one of the youths raised his hands and said, “No violence.” One of the policemen ran towards him, jumped on him, and knocked him to the part of the loft which had a drywall floor. The policeman fell on him and the force of the fall broke the floor. The policeman and the youth fell to the story below. Immediately after the fall policemen jumped on the youth, lifted his hooded sweatshirt over his face, and without checking his condition, began to beat him in all parts of his body: punches, kicks and elbowing. “All that despite the fact that the youth had not actively resisted to his evacuation,” wrote Bleicher in the complaint. Several policemen rushed at the other claimant, a married 28-year-old, lay him down on the floor and handcuffed him behind his back. Then they took him to the entrance to the loft as they punched and kicked him. “My client identified the name of one of the policemen, who had punched him in the stomach, called him by name and asked him to stopped hitting him. In response to the request, the policemen covered his face with his jacket and increased the punches to his stomach and chest, and also kneed him in the back.” Afterwards the policemen lowered him one story and put him in a side room where they abused him without any justifiable reason. The complaint states that, “The policemen smashed his head several times on the floor, bent his legs towards his back when his arms were handcuffed behind his back, which created immense pressure and pain.” The policemen also beat him repeatedly in intimate parts of the body. One of the policemen also stepped on his face. He did not show any signs of active resistance. Afterwards they were both detained and their possessions were taken from them. One of the complainants stated that when he was being put in the police car, unable to move because of his pain, the policemen continued to severely injure him. Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher: “From the nature and severity of the brutality we deduce that it was not necessary for the police operation, but rather for the sake of injuring the complainants in body and dignity, while taking advantage of their policemen’s status. There is no justification for such serious and dangerous injury to intimate parts of the body. Unfortunately such occurrences have been repeated in over 20 incidents which have been related to us from the evacuation of Amona and the nine houses in Ofra. We call on the authorities eradicate police brutality from the source. The policemen as public servants are supposed to concern themselves with the well-being of citizens, not injure them.”

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