Justice Ministry investigators yesterday asked Jerusalem District Court Judge Jacob Zaban to sentence former police officer Eran Malka to 10 years in prison for giving sensitive information to attorney Ronel Fisher so the latter could offer it to his clients in exchange for bribes.
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Malka was convicted in June of accepted bribes and obstructing justice.
Although investigators from the ministry’s department for the investigation of police officers had come to a plea agreement with Malka, under which he implicated his cohorts in exchange for not being fined and retaining his police pension and other financial benefits, there was no agreement on a sentence. The department is insisting that Malka get at least 10 years behind bars. Sentencing is scheduled for September 20.
During yesterday’s pre-sentencing hearing, the prosecutor, attorney Keren Altman, described Malka’s actions as “actual treason.”
“This is an unprecedented incident,” she said. “The accused undermined the holy of holies in the law enforcement system. He acted as a mole in his unit, betraying the trust of his commanders and the entire public.”
His defense attorneys, Ofer Bartal and Dov Gilad, asked Zaban to make do with two to five years in prison. They noted that Malka had confessed to the allegations against him, took responsibility for his actions and helped bring others to justice. They added that Malka had not used the bribery money, and called the Justice Ministry’s sentencing request “exaggerated and vengeful.”
Several police officers testified as character witnesses on Malka’s behalf, and Malka’s wife testified behind closed doors. Malka, who was given the last word, cried during his testimony and said, “For someone who was a senior officer, being an accused is itself a punishment. I am so ashamed to find myself in this position. But I blame no one, I blame myself. I made a bitter mistake I fell asleep on guard instead of protecting the values I taught my subordinates, both as an IDF commander and as a police commander. I failed.”
Malka went on to describe how he had considered suicide after realizing that his good name was ruined and his professional future had gone up in smoke. “But I ask mercy from his honor, because I want hope. I have three children waiting for me at home. I need hope that I will be able to repair the ruins of my life.
“My son told me, ‘Dad, when you come home on furlough, we aren’t going outside, we’ll stay home.’ And then I understood that my son, who was so proud of his brave father, is now ashamed of me. Is there a greater punishment than that?”