Police Revoke Charges Against East Jerusalem Teen Allegedly Beaten by Police During Detainment

Murad Banna, 19, was arrested and held over seven months for allegedly throwing stones; he claimed he was forced to give false confession.

Police revoked charges against an East Jerusalem resident who was allegedly beaten by a police officer during questioning, after the police officer failed to appear for an inquiry into the incident on Tuesday.

Murad Banna, a resident of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, was charged with hurling rocks. He was arrested twice over the course of the past year and half. Both times, the charges of rock throwing were revoked, but not before Banna spent extended time in police custody.

Silwan teen Murad Banna.
Daniel Bar On

In the most recent incident, Banna said that he confessed to throwing stones after he was beaten by the officer probing him.

"I was taken from my home at 4 in the morning, seated in a chair with my hands handcuffed behind me, and the officer threatened that he would beat me. Then he hit me and I fell to the floor," Banna told Haaretz.

The day before the trial was scheduled to begin about eight months ago, Banna's lawyers, Yiftah Cohen and Omer Shatz, petitioned the court to revoke the confession he made to the officer who allegedly beat him.

The court ordered an inquiry to examine the evidence and circumstances of the confession. But the police investigator who allegedly beat Banna didn't show up to the inquiry.

A Habeas corpus was issued against the police investigator and he was ordered to pay the court collateral to ensure that he would arrive for his next hearing, which was set for this past Monday.

The day before the scheduled court hearing, police announced that they were rescinding the charges against Banna.

"It is a case based on the defendant's confession," police said in a statement after the charge was revoked. "During the preparations for trial the investigator was questioned about the event, and it was found that documentation of the investigation was lacking. Under these circumstances we decided that the defect in the evidence… justifies revoking the charge and that is what we did."