Attorney Says Policeman Struck, Humiliated Rights Activist Arrested in Haifa Protest

Officer accused of police brutality has denied breaking Jafar Farah's leg and striking other detainees arrested in protests against Israeli actions in Gaza

Jafar Farah.
Rami Chelouche

An attorney arrested in last Friday’s protest in Haifa filed a police brutality complaint Thursday with the Justice Ministry unit that investigates police misconduct. The attorney, Anan Mohammed Odeh, said that a police officer had cursed, struck and humiliated human rights activist Jafar Farah while was in custody.

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Odeh said that police officers also struck and cursed him, and that while they were at the police station, the officers continuously cursed at people arrested during the protest, deprived them of food and humiliated them. Odeh said that the police had arrested him during the protest even though he was only taking a walk with his family.

Odeh said that when he asked if he could help a prisoner who was bleeding, one of the officers shouted “I’ll beat you and f**k you.” The attorney further said that the police officer who threatened him and raised his arm to strike him was the same police officer suspected of striking Farah.

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Odeh also said that while he was with with Farah, who is the chairman of the Musawa Center for Arab Rights in Israel, he heard Farah ask why the bleeding detainee, Farah’s son, had not been taken to the hospital. Odeh said the officer began cursing at Farah and pushed and struck him. After Farah fell down, Odeh said, the officer kicked him and continued cursing at him. When the officer told Farah to get up, and Farah said could not, the officer pulled him up and caused Farah to cry out in pain, the lawyer said.

The Justice Ministry unit has questioned the officer several times on suspicion of breaking Farah’s leg and striking other detainees. He was released on condition that he not approach a police station or make contact with anyone involved in the case.

Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich said this week that the demonstration was “utterly illegitimate and extremely violent” but that the police had to obey the law. He told reporters that the Justice Ministry unit was investigating, but had still not informed the police of any police misconduct that justified disciplinary action.