22 August 2023
Last Wednesday, police arrested Arwah Sheikh Ali of the Shuafat camp in East Jerusalem on drug charges. Now authorities must explain how a Star of David became branded to the left side of his face.
Police have said the suspect resisted arrest and that the marks resulted from bootlaces worn by officers trying to restrain him.
But the bootlaces don’t match the marks nor could they have possibly caused them, said Dr. Avner Rosengarten, head of the Forensic Science Institute. The marks on Sheikh Ali’s face corresponded to “a single metallic instrument that was used in a single event.” Moreover, the initial police report made no mention of the suspect resisting arrest. There also does not seem to be a good explanation why none of the 16 officers involved in the arrest had activated their body cameras. Sheikh Ali claims he was tortured.
Courts seem inclined to agree. Judge Amir Shaked declared, “the police have no reasonable explanation” for the disfigurement. An order that the suspect be examined by a doctor went unheeded while he was kept in a holding cell for four days, itself a violation of procedure which would mandate his movement to a different facility.
In ordering Sheikh Ali’s release to home custody, Judge Adi Bar-Tal said, ““It has emerged that the arrest featured severe violence.”
How can one not be disturbed by these events? Is this the fruit from Minister of National Security Ben Gvir’s explicit racism? It seems the anti-Arab violence this extremist government has encouraged on the West Bank can’t be contained there and is moving in stages toward the State of Israel itself.
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