Prosecutors close probe into decade-old police brutality allegation against far-right MK Almog Cohen

Jeremy Sharon is The Times of Israel’s legal affairs and settlements reporter

File: Otzma Yehudit MK Almog Cohen at the Knesset on November 22, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
File: Otzma Yehudit MK Almog Cohen at the Knesset on November 22, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The State Attorney’s Office informs far-right MK Almog Cohen of the Otzma Yehudit party that the investigation into suspected violent conduct by Cohen during his service as a Yasam riot police officer has been closed.

“After examining the evidence, it was found that the evidentiary material does not provide any foundation to put him [Cohen] on trial,” the State Attorney’s Office says.

In October 2022, Cohen posted a picture of police officers arresting three men lying prostrate, face down on the ground with a caption insinuating that he was one of the three officers.

The post caused Cohen problems, however, since it appears to have been from an incident in 2013, when Cohen was still serving in the police, in which police officers severely beat and abused several Arab protestors following a demonstration against a government development program in the Negev region.

A complaint was filed around the time of the incident but closed when the officer in question could not be identified. After Cohen’s post, the complainants came forward again and the attorney general ordered the case reopened. The Lahav 433 investigative unit questioned Cohen over the incident in January, leading Otzma Yehudit leader and National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir to denounce the attorney general for “political persecution.”

Ben Gvir says following the closing of the case that it should never have been opened and alleged it was reflective of tactics in the law enforcement agencies to intimidate Otzma Yehudit members.

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