State prosecutor given 24-hour security as fateful decisions loom

State prosecutor given 24-hour security as fateful decisions loom

Guards reportedly posted outside Shai Nitzan’s home, as charges expected in coming days against cop who shot Ethiopian teen, and prime minister in corruption cases

State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan speaks at a Justice Ministry conference in Tel Aviv, on November 4, 2019. (Flash90)
State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan speaks at a Justice Ministry conference in Tel Aviv, on November 4, 2019. (Flash90)

Round-the-clock protection was ordered Monday for State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan, as charges were expected in two sensitive cases that have both sparked angry public protests — the fatal shooting by police on an Ethiopian-Israeli teenager earlier this year and the corruption cases involving Prime Minister Benjamin.

Guards were positioned outside Nitzan’s home in the Ramot neighborhood of Jerusalem, Channel 13 television news reported.

The decision to provide security was made earlier in the day, after Hebrew media reports that the Police Internal Investigations Division (PIID) would on Tuesday announce downgraded negligent homicide charges — rather than manslaughter — against the police officer who shot Solomon Tekah.

In addition, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit is expected to announce in the coming days charges against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in three corruption cases against him.

Police and the Interior Ministry took the initiative to guard Nitzan out of concerns that there may be violent responses to both legal developments.

The head of PIID Keren Bar-Menachem will soon be assigned 24-hour security detail as well, the report said.

A car engulfed in flames in Tel Aviv, after its driver was attacked during a protest following the death of 19-year-old Ethiopian, Solomon Tekah, who was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer a few days earlier, in Kiryat Haim, July 2, 2019. (Adam Shuldman/Flash90)

The killing of Tekah, 19, in the Haifa neighborhood of Kiryat Haim on June 30, sparked nationwide protests, some of which turned violent. The incident immediately prompted renewed accusations of police brutality and racism toward Israelis of Ethiopian descent.

Days after the shooting, protesters across Israel blocked roads, burned tires, and denounced what they said is systemic discrimination against the Ethiopian-Israeli community.

Monday’s TV report quoted police sources assessing that the protests could be re-launched as a result of the failure to charge the officer of a more severe crime.

The relatively lenient offense of negligent homicide carries a maximum punishment of three years in jail. Tekah’s family will likely petition the High Court of Justice to appeal the decision, according to Channel 13, and ask that the charges be upgraded to manslaughter, which is punishable by up to 20 years behind bars

Ethiopian-Israeli Solomon Tekah, who was shot dead by an off-duty policeman in Kiryat Haim on June 30, 2019. (Courtesy)

Netanyahu faces pending charges of fraud, breach of trust in three separate criminal cases, as well as bribery in one of them. He denies any wrongdoing and claims to be the victim of a witch hunt involving the opposition, the media, the police and state prosecutors.

The prosecution has been the subject of increasing attacks by Netanyahu and his allies as the criminal cases against the premier approach the point of decision.

read more: