Four police officers convicted of trying to bomb crime boss
Four Nahariya police officers convicted of trying to bomb crime boss. September 20, 2010 Photo by Tomer Neuberg
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The Supreme Court on Sunday rejected an appeal by four police officers to overturn the one-year prison sentence they had been handed for seeking to target a reputed crime family in the northern town of Nahariya with a series of bomb attacks.

Policemen Rami Musa, Yaniv Ashur, Eldad Hadad and Yossi Levi were convicted last month of planting explosives under a car belonging to Michael Mor - the head of an organized crime syndicate in northern Israel - and at the home of his nephew, Rafi Ben Shalom.

The explosives placed at Ben Shalom's house caused damage to the building, but those placed under Mor's vehicle failed to detonate due to a technical fault.

"The four took on the modus operandi of criminals, and not one of law enforcement officials. They turned from defenders of the law to offenders," wrote the justices in their ruling on Sunday.

Justices Elyakim Rubenstein, Salim Jubran and Yoram Danziger emphasized in their ruling that in this light, a severe penalty was needed for their actions.

"We must protect Israel's officers and show zero tolerance for anything that harms them, to provide them with the effective tools for fighting crime and violence," wrote the judges.

"Law enforcement officials and the police are obligated to behave fairly and to respect the private rights of society. When officers act outside the law, they personally harm the way the police functions and the public's trust in it."

The Haifa District Court sentenced the four policemen to a year in prison last October.

The presiding judge said the policemen should receive a three-year jail sentence as well as a one-year suspended sentence, but two judges also on the bench supported the one-year sentence.

After hearing the verdict Israeli police spokesman issued an official statement.

"Israel police will inquire into the implications of the sentence before responding to the judgment,' the police said.

In their testimony, the policemen told of the "powerlessness of the system to defend them."