Israeli officers who left Palestinian to die must pay
The chilling tale of a Palestinian car thief released from hospital prematurely and placed in police detention.
An unspeakable act took place in Israel. Late one night, an officer of the Israel Police tossed one Omar Abu Jariban - injured, confused and shoeless - to the side of the road and left him there to die.
This chilling story, which took place in the summer of 2008, was reported by Chaim Levinson in Friday's Hebrew edition of Haaretz. The incident should keep many Israelis awake at night. Serious measures must be taken against all those responsible.
Abu Jariban - who lives in the Gaza Strip city of Rafah, and who was not authorized to enter Israel - was seriously injured in an accident while riding with a friend in a stolen car. He was discharged from Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer - with a urinary catheter still in place, still using adult diapers, and in need of further medical care and rehabilitation - and he was placed in police detention. Hospital and police officials are now trading accusations over who was responsible for his premature and unconscionable discharge from Sheba.
Following failed efforts by the Rehovot and Kfar Sava police stations to identify Abu Jariban, police officials made the decision to get rid of the injured, sick and confused detainee and to take him to the Maccabim border crossing. Three police officers pushed him into a police vehicle. After it reached the checkpoint, whose commander refused to take the injured man, he was thrown from the vehicle in the dark of night onto the shoulder of Route 45, between the Ofer Base and the Atarot border crossing. He was wearing only hospital pajamas and was still attached to the catheter. His body was discovered two days later. "He was simply thrown to the dogs," Abu Jariban's brother, Mohammed, said by telephone from Gaza. The brother, horrifically, related the events in precise detail.
In March 2009, after an investigation by the Justice Ministry's department for the investigation of police officers, it was decided that only two of the officers involved in dumping and abandoning Abu Jariban by the side of the road would be prosecuted, both on charges of criminally negligent homicide. The evidentiary stage of the trial has not yet begun, but one of the defendants has since been promoted within the police. A third officer, who was given a disciplinary trial over the incident, has also been promoted since then.
There are individuals who are responsible for this horrific act, and they must pay for their deeds. It is not sufficient to settle for the very partial recommendations of the police investigations department. The attorney general must order an additional and more comprehensive investigation of the conduct of Sheba and of the police in this incident.