Officer Acquitted in Palestinian Girl's Death Sues Ilana Dayan and 'Fact'

Captain R. of the Givati Brigade, who was acquitted of manslaughter charges in the death of a 13-year-old Palestinian girl, Iman al-Hams, is suing Ilana Dayan and Telad, the defunct Channel 2 television franchisee, over a report about the case on the television program "Fact."

In a NIS 3 million lawsuit filed yesterday in the Jerusalem District Court, the officer's lawyers, Elad Eisenberg and Yoav Mani, analyzed the report in detail and argued that it was "a masterpiece of biased editing, distortion and propagandizing, that left the plaintiff at that point no chance in the fight over public opinion and his good name."

The lawyers also claimed that the object of the broadcast was "to create a sensation to achieve high ratings." Moreover, "in view of the baseness and distortion glaring out of nearly every frame of the report, it cannot be ruled out that it also served the hidden personal agenda of someone involved in the work."

The plaintiff inveighed against the program's presentation of an operational military investigation into the case as deceitful and of the Military Police investigation as truthful, a matter that was ultimately disproved in Captain R.'s trial.

The Fact report, broadcast in November 2004, relied on recordings from radio communications at the outpost where Captain R. was stationed and corresponding video footage of the outpost. The main part of the lawsuit involves a detailed comparison between the radio soundtrack played in the report and the footage shown at the same time. The plaintiff claimed that the program engaged in "creative" editing, linking parts of sentences by Captain R. into a single sentence, inserting images filmed at another time, and in at least 13 instances, fabricating synchronization between the radio soundtrack and images shown on screen.