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 Dear Friends,
We wanted to share with you the news of a precedent-setting judgement, given last week at the High Court of Justice in Israel. The ruling followed a petition we presented to the HCJ in the name of a man who underwent horrific torture at the hands of two policemen. The torture, which occurred at a police station nine years ago, included beating, sexual abuse, and one of the policemen peeing on the detainee.

The brutality directed against the complainant cannot be termed anything but torture, and anyone reading the affidavit and the testimonies given by the victim time and again is exposed to a case which cannot be set aside. After his complaint and an appeal were rejected, and after the Police Investigation Unit decided not to indict the policemen, in spite of the mounting evidence, we petitioned the HCJ in 2012 and attacked the unreasonable nature of the decision.

Experts in the identification and documentation of torture conducted a legal-medical assessment, which spoke of the psychological and physical scars carried by this man and of the etiological connection between them and the abuse he underwent at the police station.

On Tuesday, 28/2/2017, the HCJ judges accepted our claim that there is sufficient evidence to indict one of the policemen involved. In doing so the HCJ cancelled the Attorney General's decision to reject the appeal against the closing of the file. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that the HCJ interferes in the authorities' decision not to charge due to lack of evidence.

The judges' criticism was evident in the discussion held at the hearing: Judge Amit noted that the fact that there is a beginning of a confession by the policeman and yet the file was closed is a "disturbing element". Judge Jubran asked: "Why is one more careful when it comes to policemen? This shouldn't be so, and it harms public faith in the PIU and in the Police."

We're pleased with the verdict, but our work is far from over. Besides this case, we still represent dozens of victims of police brutality, whose complaints are closed without substantial reasoning, and whose attackers continue to serve in the police and even rise in rank. We still see thousands of victims of torture from ISA interrogations who have yet to see a single criminal investigation opened against their torturers.

We see in this ruling by the HCJ a step in the right direction, and a confirmation of the just struggle against torture and abuse. Continue to support this struggle: please pass this mail on to your friends, share the Facebook post, and stay involved. Together we will bring about a change in the policy towards violence by representatives of the state.

Thank you,
Rachel Stroumsa

Copyright © 2017 Public Committee against Torture in Israel, All rights reserved.

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