Israel Halts Case Against Georgian National Who Police Tasered Seven Times

Yosebi Bukashvilli, who doesn’t speak Hebrew, was charged with assaulting a policeman on New Year's Eve.

An Israel Police officer with a Taser gun.Olivier Fitoussi

The deputy attorney general on Wednesday ordered a halt to the legal proceedings against a Georgian national who was charged with assaulting a policeman during his arrest. He was tasered by police at least seven times.

Yosebi Bukashvilli, 37, was in the Ramle home he shares with his wife and son on New Year’s Eve 2015. He had a few drinks, played loud music and conducted a noisy argument with his wife at the entrance to the house.

Policemen in a passing patrol car decided to take Bukashvilli in for questioning, although his wife told them what was happening, according to the policemen’s report.

“We saw a man and woman arguing and shouting, we approached them and saw a very drunk man acting extremely wildly,” the policemen wrote.

“We put him into the car as a detainee and called for back up to detain the woman as well and bring her to the station in order to sort out what happened between them,” the report said.

Bukashvilli’s lawyer, Stav Sa’ar, wrote in his request to stop the legal process that Bukashvilli, who has no prior convictions, was “celebrating New Year’s Eve, while drinking intoxicating beverages without hurting anyone. Later he had a loud argument with his partner on their doorstep. Although he committed no offense, and wasn’t suspected of any, he was taken to the police station in a hazy state and couldn’t understand what the policemen were saying. His wife explained to the police that they were having an innocent argument.”

Bukashvilli, who doesn’t speak Hebrew, banged on the police car’s door. He later said under questioning that he was trying to call his wife to give him his passport.

According to the charge sheet, Bukashvilli slapped one of the policemen and started acting wildly when he was taken out of the car. The policemen cuffed him, fired a Taser at him and put him in a cell, where he hit his head on the bars. The two policemen tasered him seven times in a row, according to their own testimonies.

“We were simply arguing at the end of the party and then the cops came,” Bukashvilli’s wife told Haaretz. “My partner doesn’t speak Hebrew, neither of us could understand why they insisted on taking him by force to the police station, because he didn’t do anything.”

“Despite that, he was forcibly put into the car and at the station they tasered him. They electrified him many times over then locked him up in a cell. I kept trying to explain that he hadn’t done anything to me or to anyone else. When we got the indictment we were both in shock,” she said.

The Central District Prosecutor indicted Bukashvilli for both the incident that got him arrested and for assaulting a policeman.

His lawyer said the defendant was a regular guy in the process of naturalization, which could be affected by the legal process.

“This is the first contact he has had with the police in his life, in an incident that became a tragic combination – the New Year’s Eve party he attended, the argument with his partner and mainly his misguided conduct with the policemen, whom he didn’t understand,” Sa’ar wrote in his request to have the case dropped.

He said he was considering asking the police investigation department to look into the case.

Deputy Attorney General Avi Licht, who received the request, ordered that the proceedings be halted “due to the case’s unique circumstances.”

Halted processes may be renewed after a while, but rarely are. Usually the halt puts a permanent stop to the process.