Israeli Cops Who Botched Rape Case to Receive 'Certificates of Appreciation'

Missteps led to wrongful imprisonment of Palestinian teen for nearly six months.

The police officers involved in the investigation of a wrongly imprisoned Palestinian teen, who was recently released from jail because his DNA did not match the evidence from the rape he was accused of committing, will receive certificates of appreciation Wednesday for their efforts in the case, the commander of the Samaria police said Monday.

Commander Itzik Rahamim said he wants to support his officers in light of Monday's Haaretz article exposing the police missteps, which he cited explicitly in connection with the decision, and which he said was aimed at portraying the Judea and Samaria District in a negative light.

The ceremony will take place during a visit tomorrow by high-ranking officials from the district, Rahamim said.

Two other suspects have since been indicted in the case.

"This is an investigation in which the investigators from the Hebron area strove to find the truth in a serious rape case and brought about an indictment on aggravated rape, in which charges were brought against two residents of the territories who went jogging and raped and mugged [a woman] while using serious violence," said Judea and Samaria District spokesman David Asraf. "As such the investigators were found deserving of professional appreciation."

Some Jewish residents in the southern Hebron Hills area, where a woman from one of the area settlements reported being raped, beaten and stabbed by two men in March, said on Monday they were angry that the police had not made the public aware of the incident.

One Jewish resident of the area said he would have expected the police to issue a statement either after the rape or after charges were filed.

"They concealed it so there wouldn't be a balagan," he said, using the Hebrew word for chaos, mess or problems. He appeared to be alluding to so-called "price tag" attacks by Jewish settlers on Arabs and left-wing activists.

The Palestinian teen originally accused of involvement in the rape, a 16-year-old shepherd from the southern Hebron Hills, was held in custody for nearly six months. The victim identified him in a lineup, but an eyewitness categorically denied the shepherd could be the perpetrator.

Police also did not attempt to trace calls made on the cell phone stolen from the victim.