Three Israeli border policemen were indicted on Wednesday for illegally utilizing a mask of legal authority and repeatedly accosting and robbing Arabs while off duty though still in uniform.
The three officers were charged in the Jerusalem District Court on charges of conspiracy to commit a crime, robbery and attempted robbery for their reported systematic campaign to steal money and valuables from Palestinians whom they suspected of being in Israel illegally.
According to the indictment, one of the robberies occurred 10 days ago, when the three accused border policemen left their base wearing uniforms and carrying guns, even though they were off duty. The three traveled to downtown Jerusalem, where they cornered an Arab, and asked him for his documents as if they were on duty. The policemen led their captive into an alleyway, asked him to face the wall, and demanded that he empty his pockets. Although they returned his wallet, they pocketed 370 shekels, and demanded that he walk away without looking back.
The border policemen were identified by Haaretz as Uziel Hanun, Osama al-Sahly, and Reuven Dhokerker, residents of Acre, Daliat Al-Carmel, and Petah Tikva.
The suspects were arrested at the end of May, after the Israel Police’s Internal Affairs Division launched an undercover investigation of the reported robberies. Although they only had concrete evidence of four robberies, one of which netted the suspects 2,500 shekels, investigators suspect that the policemen carried out additional assaults.
Shalom Amar of the Internal Affairs Division said after their arrest that “they took their guns and hunted day laborers, workers, people suspected of illegal stays [in Israel], and took them by threat into alleyways where some were beaten. Whoever had no money was beaten and sent home. Whoever did have money was also beaten, and his money was also taken.”