2 border guards charged with beating Arab man in Jerusalem

Officers allegedly hit the man repeatedly with their rifles and threatened to shoot him, believing he was behind stabbing attack

Illustrative: A Border Police officer frisks a Palestinian man in front of Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City on September 20, 2016. (Sebi Berens/Flash90)
Illustrative: A Border Police officer frisks a Palestinian man in front of Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City on September 20, 2016. (Sebi Berens/Flash90)

Two Border Police officers were indicted on Monday in the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court after the Police Internal Investigations Department recommended they stand trial on suspicion of assaulting an Israeli-Arab man they believed was responsible for a stabbing attack in the Old City.

According to the indictment, officers Yosef Abadi, 21, from Rishon Lezion, and Oshri Ohayon, 22, of Beit Shemesh, arrived in the Old City’s Christian Quarter on May 2, 2016, to look for the stabber in a knife attack that was reported in the area earlier that day.

Seeing an Israeli-Arab man he believed to be the attacker, but who was in fact an unarmed bystander, Abadi allegedly hit the man in the eye with the butt of his rifle without first attempting to question him or inform him he was being detained.

After the man asked Abadi and Ohayon for an explanation, the two officers proceeded to curse at him, then one of them grabbed him by the neck and pinned him against a closed door, after which they allegedly punched him and hit him with their rifles in his head and back.

As the man pleaded for them to stop, saying that he had recently had a baby, Abadi and Ohayon cocked their guns and told a fellow Border Police officer passing by to “shoot him,” the indictment, which did not name the victim, said.

After the Israeli-Arab man attempted to turn around, the two officers hit him in the testicles and went on beating him for a few minutes, while one of the officers said to the other, “Shoot him, shoot him, here is the knife,” according to the indictment.

As the two officers began to walk away, the man called out that he would file a complaint, at which point Abadi turned around, cocked his weapon again, and struck him in the chest with his rifle butt.

The Israeli-Arab man said in the indictment that as a result of the incident, he suffered injuries to his right eye, back, waist and abdomen.

The indictment came a day after another police officer, Moshe Cohen, who was filmed beating an Arab Israeli truck driver, resigned from the force.

Footage of the March 23 incident shows the officer, from the elite police reconnaissance unit Yasam, in a heated verbal exchange with the driver. The argument quickly turned violent, as the officer headbutted the driver before repeatedly punching and kicking him.

Cohen, who was charged with assault last Thursday, apologized to the truck driver.

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