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Israel cop charged with breaking leg of Palestinian activist

Jafar Farah, director of rights group Mossawa and Palestinian citizen of Israel - (Twitter)

An Israeli police officer was charged yesterday with fracturing the leg in May 2018 of prominent Palestinian activist Jafar Farah during a demonstration in Haifa, reported Haaretz.

According to paper, in addition to being charged with “causing serious bodily harm” in breaking Farah’s leg, the police officer Lior Hatam, “is accused of assaulting seven other men who had been brought to the Haifa police station that day”.

Hatam has denied the accusations, a statement provided by his lawyers said.

Farah, who is the director of the Mossawa Advocacy Centre for Arab Citizens in Israel, was arrested at the end of a protest against Israeli crimes in the occupied Gaza Strip.

According to the indictment, “Hatam kicked Farah forcefully in the left leg and then lifted him up, handcuffed him and knocked him over, fracturing his leg.”

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The indictment states that “Farah only received medical treatment the following day, despite repeated requests for medical care,” and “he was only referred for medical treatment when it became clear that he could not walk and needed two policemen to support him.”

Hatam also allegedly threatened detainees, telling them: “Today we’re going to have our way with you. I’ll screw you.”

Responding to the indictment, Farah said: “The culture of lies and violence among the police has been laid bare today with details presented in the indictment.”

“Regrettably it took a year to decide to issue the indictment. This is a policeman whose transgressions were committed under the auspices of his commanders.”

Farah added: “The commander of the Haifa [police] station, Amir Goldstein, personally, and the commanders under him, misled the police commissioner and cast doubt over my account while I was suffering from a fractured knee.”

Haaretz noted that “the police commissioner at the time, Roni Alsheich, had suggested that Farah might have been injured during the demonstration and not in police detention.”

The veteran activist also claimed that Goldstein “ordered him moved from a hospital to the Kishon detention facility to conceal the fact that his leg had been broken, and also asked that his time in custody be extended by five days.”

Israel Police said yesterday it is still considering whether or not to terminate Hatam’s service.

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