Israel Court Sends Police Officers to Prison for Leaving Palestinian to Die by Side of Road

As Haaretz first revealed, Baruch Peretz and Asaf Yakutieli left car thief Omar Abu Jariban, who had been critically injured in a car accident, by a deserted road at night in 2008.

Oz Rosenberg
Oz Rosenberg

A Jerusalem magistrate's court sentenced on Monday two former Israeli police officers for causing 2008 negligent death of a Palestinian car thief to 30 months in prison.

In 2008, Omar Abu Jariban, who had illegally entered Israel from Gaza, was seriously injured after a car he had stolen rolled over on Route 6. He was admitted to Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, with broken bones and neurological injuries and then released in a state of confusion and still attached to a catheter.

After space was not found for him in a prison, he was allegedly left by police at the side of Route 45 near the Ofer army camp in the West Bank. His body was found there two days later.

Baruch Peretz, the police officer on duty, and Asaf Yakutieli, who admits placing Abu Jariban on the side of the road - where he later died of dehydration were charged of causing his negligent death.

On Monday, a Jerusalem's magistrate's court sentenced both men to 30 months in prison, with judge Haim Lee-Ran calling their conduct "ugly and nauseating."

"I find it hard to understand how, despite being fully aware of the detainees physical and mental state, they were unable to see and understand the distress of a man born in god's image," Lee-Ran said.

The Jerusalem judge added that the Peretz and Yakutieli left the Palestinian "just like that, in the dead of night, on a dark road, without themselves knowing where they were, and without even supplying him with water. As if he was a thing."

Lee Ran added that his sentence was meant to deter others from committing similar acts, and to "sharpen the recognition emanating from the sanctity of life and a man's right to dignity."

The judge also criticized the police in general, saying that the above-mentioned principles has been "blurred recently among those entrusted with the security of others."

"The source of a policeman's power, and that of the power of the police in a democratic state, isn't the baton, or the taser, or any other weapons at his disposal," but in his moral level, he said.

Peretz and Yakutieli's legal representatives criticized the ruling, and said they would appeal it.

Highway 443 in the Atarot area; Omar Abu Jariban (inset).Credit: Nir Kafri
Assaf Yakutieli, one of the two officers convicted of negligent homicide of a Palestinian man, in a Jerusalem courtCredit: Michal Fattal

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