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Six Border Police Charged With Beating Palestinians

November 24, 1996

JERUSALEM (AP) _ Two Israeli border policemen videotaped beating Palestinians were indicted on charges of aggravated assault and abuse of power Sunday. Four other officers were charged in a similar incident.

David Ben Abu and Tsahi Shmaya were arrested last week after an amateur videotape showing them kicking and humiliating six Palestinians was broadcast on Israel Television.

A Palestinian cameraman captured the two kicking the Palestinians in the head, forcing them to do push-ups and hitting them in the face about six weeks ago near the A-Ram police checkpoint on the northern outskirts of Jerusalem.

The prosecution asked Jerusalem Magistrates Court Judge Rivka Friedman-Feldman to jail the two defendants, who have been under house arrest, until the end of their trial.

The judge said she would rule after she had watched the entire videotape, not just the excerpts shown on television, Israel radio said. The defendants were jailed pending her decision, expected Monday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said the two policemen would be discharged from the security forces.

Also Sunday, four border policemen were indicted for beating a Palestinian unconscious, kicking him in the groin, and causing bruising and injuries to his head and other parts of the body.

Fadi Muhammed Shaur, a resident of the West Bank town of Hebron, was arrested by the four in June for being in Jerusalem without a permit. They took him to a grove just north of the city where they beat him unconscious, breaking a baton over his head, the prosecution said.

They abandoned him and he was later picked up by Arab passersby.

The four were charged with aggravated assault and abuse of power.

In another incident Sunday, border police required medical treatment after being attacked at a roadblock by about 10 members of a Palestinian family, police said. Three members of the family were detained for questioning, Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said.

The incident occurred when the family arrived from Bethlehem at a roadblock on the southern edge of Jerusalem. Police said they suspected the attackers had been drinking.

The border police are a paramilitary arm of the police with a reputation for toughness who have borne much of the burden of security in the Palestinian areas.

The commander of the border police, Yisrael Sadan, has acknowledged that many complaints of beatings are submitted by Palestinians and that the incident at A-Ram was not the worst.

Update hourly