East Jerusalem man says he was threatened after cops planted a gun in his house

Samer Sleiman is suing police over a raid it conducted for a TV docudrama, claiming they damaged his home and his reputation

East Jerusalem resident Samer Sleiman who is suing police for planting a gun in his house during the filming of a television docudrama (courtesy)
East Jerusalem resident Samer Sleiman who is suing police for planting a gun in his house during the filming of a television docudrama (courtesy)

An East Jerusalem resident whose house was raided during the filming of a television docudrama says that he received a threatening call from a man identifying himself as a police officer warning him not to speak to the media about the incident.

The Israel Police apologized to Samer Sleiman on Tuesday after it emerged that during the November 2018 incident — which aired late last month as part of a television series about law enforcement in the capital — officers had planted a weapon in his home.

“Jerusalem District” is a nine-episode docudrama that purports to “provide a rare glimpse into the activities of the intelligence, detectives and Border Police officers in the Jerusalem district.”

Haaretz reported the alleged threat against Sleiman on Wednesday. According to the Hebrew daily, police officials claimed that the idea of planting a weapon was raised by a member of the show’s production crew after officers failed to find a weapon when they searched the house. This suggestion was then approved by the senior policeman present.

Sleiman, who is suing the police, has complained that after the ninth episode was aired on June 23, neighbors and friends recognized his voice and house despite his face being blurred. He is now afraid that some will think he is a criminal or suspect him of cooperating with Israeli authorities since he hasn’t been charged or even questioned over the gun ostensibly found in his home.

Police apologized “for any harm caused to the civilian as a result of the segment’s airing” and added that the case is being probed and that conclusions would be drawn as necessary.

“My clients didn’t believe it was happening to them,” wrote the family’s lawyer, Itay Mack. “In one instant they became, in the eyes of the public, criminals and users and traffickers of illegal weapons. Additionally, since no legal proceedings were taken against them, claims began to circulate that they are cooperating with police.”

Kan said it was checking the complaint with the production company, Koda Communications, and that if the “severe” allegations were found to have even a “sliver of truth” to them, the matter would be dealt with accordingly.

According to Koda Communications, parts of the episode were “illustrative” and meant to convey to viewers “exceptional events encountered by the police in their ongoing work.”

This, they said, was done “rarely and for the purpose of maintaining the safety of participants and the secrecy of police tactics,” Haaretz reported.

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