Unmarked police car rams youths’ car, killing one – Day 23
Ahuvia Sandak, z”l
See here for a list of posts connected to the case. Tuesday, January 12, 2021 10:52 Concerns regarding the impartiality of the investigation In a letter to the Supreme Court regarding the investigation into the death of Ahuvia Sandak, z”l, Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado repeatedly warned that the fact that the policemen investigating are people of interest and that the investigation is divided between two departments “in practice violates the rights of the civilian suspects.” Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado submitted an update to the Supreme Court with regards to the petition filed against the Central Unit of the Tel Aviv Police over the death of Ahuvia Sandak. The update concerns two topics which damaged the impartiality of the investigation: the detention of a policeman on 10/1/2021 and its grounds, and the deliberation on the remand of the youths on 10/1/2021. Concerning the detention of the policeman, Yado wrote: “On the day of 10/1/2021, the media publicized that the PIU had detained a policeman who had given his version of events to the journalist Kalman Liebskind. The article in question had already been published on 1/1/2021, ten days before the detention.” Last Wednesday, six days prior to the detention, Yado wrote a letter to the Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Affairs, Shlomo (Mumi) Lemberger, relating to the version of events that the policeman had given to the newspaper. In the letter he mentioned the complaint that he had filed with the PIU on the same day and detailed the content of the complaint: “The policeman told the newspaper that before they began the car chase, they entered the license plate number of the [youths’] car for a check and found that the car belonged to an unknown person from Bat Ayin. This information, if the policeman’s version of events is correct, was not transferred to the court, despite the fact that it was required to be transferred at the deliberation on the remand of one of the suspects, at which the policemen claimed that the suspect owned the car and that he was driving it at the time of the accident.” Yado objected and said that information such as this must not be concealed from the court by the policemen, because the concealment caused an extension of the remand: “The complaint was filed in order to investigate the policemen who had concealed this information.” Yado added that the detention of the policeman was meant to stop the disruption of proceedings. However the main issue as far as he was concerned was to stop the positive bias inherent in having policemen investigating other policemen. Concerning the minutes from the January 10, 2021 deliberation on the request to extend the minors’ remand, Yado wrote, “The minutes repeatedly mention the same two problems in the work of the special [police] investigation team, as follows: the connection of the policemen to the subject of the investigation and the artificial division of the investigation into two units, which interferes with the work of the defense attorney and the investigation team.” In a letter to the Supreme Court Yado stated that the minutes are tainted by the excessive and decisive accusation by the investigators from the Central Unit of the Tel Aviv Police against the civilians. Yado quoted the investigators from the minutes with regards to their treatment of the civilians being investigated: “And this is in order to extricate themselves from the terrible crime that they committed.” Yado wrote: “Slandering the civilians, even before the final opinion of the police traffic inspector was submitted, and contrary to the conclusion of the traffic inspector brought by the civilians, expresses nothing other than pinning the accusation on the youths and removing it from the policemen.” “This is a natural direction for a police investigation of suspicions against policemen, and this direction should have been prevented by the arrangement set by law on the matter of investigating the crime by only the Police Investigation Unit,” wrote Yado, who added that “concerning the request for remand, the accident is still described as an independent overturning by the youths. In the request, the ‘insignificant’ detail that the police car hit the civilians’ car before it overturned is not mentioned. Throughout the letter Yado explained why dividing the investigation damaged it and how the damage could have been prevented if the investigation were entirely in the hands of the PIU: “The problem is with how the investigating policemen identify with their colleagues in the police and also with the division of the investigating unit into two heads. There is a problem with the connection of the investigating authority to the investigation and also a problem with the division of the special investigating team into two units that negatively impacts the investigation and in practice violates the rights of the civilian suspects and hampers the ability of their attorney to defend them.” In conclusion, Yado wrote “The claims have already been raised, however between filing the petition and the deliberation, the negative behavior against which we warned when we filed the petition, has been repeated and has been expressed in deliberations and in the conduct of the investigating unit in the framework of which the police are being investigated.” 11:59 The Jerusalem Magistrates Court scheduled an urgent deliberation for Wednesday, January 13, at 9:30 on the request by the Sandak family to appoint an investigative judge to examine the death of Ahuvia Sandak, z”l, in a police chase in the Binyamin region on December 21. The deliberation was scheduled by the order of Judge Eliad Weinshall. Honenu Attorney Ariel Atari will represent the Sandak family. 15:07 Shilo Bloc resident detained A Shomron resident was detained a short while ago by detectives from the Central Unit of Yehuda and Shomron Police while working at a construction site in the Shilo Bloc community of Kida. Another resident who witnessed the detention asked the detectives, “Is there anyone else for you to run over here?” The resident was threatened in text messages from a GSS agent several weeks ago after he participated in a demonstration protesting the death of Ahuvia Sandak. A Honenu Attorney is verifying the reason for the detention and assisting the detainee.
Screenshot of the threatening text
15:12 Shomron resident threatened by GSS (First publicized on 31/12/2020) The GSS threatened a friend of Ahuvia Sandak, z”l, who participated in demonstrations protesting against the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police taking place throughout Israel in response to the death of the youth in a police car chase on December 21, 2020. The friend is a Shomron resident, is married and has several children. On the day after the friend protested opposite the home of a detective from the Central Unit of Yehuda and Shomron Police who was involved with the accident in which Ahuvia was killed, he came to the shiva at the Sandak family’s home to console the family. As he was sitting with the mourners, a GSS agent phoned him. He disconnected the call and then immediately received threatening text messages from the same GSS agent. One of the messages: “It’s me again! I expected to receive a greeting from you upon my arrival, but apparently you’re still angry about our mutual past. As with our accepted practice in the past, I have my eyes wide open on you 24/7. For every false step/act of defiance/violent activity in which you take part, there will be a significant response from me (and you know that I am not all talk), so don’t even try! Today you have a lot to lose in life. So for the sake of your family and for your own sake, take care and beware! “Roni”” Honenu Attorney Moshe Poleski sharply criticized the threat and said “This is another example of persecution of hilltop youth. It is unacceptable that the General Security Service chases protest activists. Someone who participates in a protest in the evening should not find himself threatened the following morning by a GSS agent. This is against the law and against all logic in a democratic country. “The GSS must understand that they are the security service of a democratic country, and also right-wing activists have freedom of protest, freedom of thought, and the right to criticize the actions of the government.” 19:13 The detained Shilo Bloc resident was released after interrogation. 21:44 More than 3 weeks of protest over death of Ahuvia, z”l This evening, hundreds of demonstrators are continuing over three weeks of protests since the death of Ahuvia Sandak, z”l, during a police chase in the Binyamin region on December 21. The demonstrators are demanding that an external investigative committee be formed to examine the conduct of the Central Unit of Yehuda and Shomron Police in general and the death of Ahuvia in particular. Dozens of youths and activists are protesting at the String Bridge in Jerusalem. Three activists were detained and released a short time later. At the Lachish Junction protesters reported that a police detective car hit a youth, who did not require medical treatment. A demonstration is taking place at the entrance to Nof Ayalon with the participation of the chief rabbi of the community, Rabbi Gideon Binyamin. In Jerusalem, the protest tent opposite the Office of the Public Security Minister, near the National Headquarters of the Israeli Police, is still operating. During the day dozens of activists and supporters visited, among them Natan Engelsman, chairman of the Mateh Le’umi in the Likud. Engelsman called on Public Security Minister Amir Ohana to serve justice and announce that an external investigative committee has been founded to examine Ahuvia’s death. Rabbi Yehuda Libman, a Shomron resident, gave a lecture at the tent: “I came to the protest tent opposite the National Headquarters [of the Israeli Police] to participate with the students here in learning Torah, in protesting to rectify the grave injustice of the death of Ahuvia Sandak, Hy”d, and in calling out for justice.” “We learned together about Moshe Rabbeinu, how he was not apathetic to what was happening in his surroundings. He saw the injustice, he went out to see the suffering of his brothers, and he cried out. We are continuing in the way of Moshe Rabbeinu and demanding that this injustice be stopped, that the persecution stop, and G-d willing a genuine investigative committee will be formed and the injustice will be removed – this lack of justice in which instead of the youths being regarded as exemplary, they are persecuted. We believe that justice will come to light and we will merit seeing it actually happen.” Aryeh King, the Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem also visited the tent: “I am here, in the square opposite the National Headquarters of the Police, with the salt of the earth: the youths who are here in the tent in memory of Ahuvia Sandak, z”l, who was killed by Yehuda and Shomron Police forces. I call on everyone to come visit the tent, to strengthen the family, to strengthen Ahuvia’s friends, to strengthen the Jewish presence in all parts of the Land of Israel. What is right for Yehuda and Shomron is right for the Negev, the Galil, the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem. “The struggles with which these wonderful youths cope in Yehuda and Shomron are the same struggles with which other youths and residents cope. … “Therefore I call on everyone who supports [a Jewish presence in Yehuda and Shomron], everyone who supports a serious investigation of what happens in the Police Investigation Unit, everyone who supports an external investigation into the circumstances of Ahuvia Sandak’s death, to come here at all hours of the day to strengthen and to be strengthened.”
Bat Yam; Photo credit: Shilo Cohen
Demonstrations will take place this evening in Bat Yam, Nof HaGalil, Kommemiut, Shilo, Ariel, Mevaseret Tzion, and at additional intersections in Yehuda and Shomron. 22:57 Will an investigative judge be appointed? Honenu Attorney Ariel Atari: “The attempt by the office of the Attorney General to prevent the investigation by an investigative judge is the best evidence that the Attorney General’s office, the Israeli Police and the Police Investigation Unit have something to hide.” From the reply submitted by the office of the Jerusalem District Attorney today (Tuesday) to the Jerusalem Magistrates Court, it appears that they are opposed to appointing an investigative judge to examine the circumstances of the death of Ahuvia Sandak, z”l. Tomorrow (Wednesday) at 9:30 the Jerusalem Magistrate Court will judge the request filed by Atari on behalf the Sandak family to appoint an investigative judge to examine the circumstances of the death of Ahuvia Sandak.