Daily Israel Report

State Prosecution Appeals Strook Verdict

Prosecution appeals the 18-month prison sentenced imposed on Tzvi Strook, who was convicted of beating an Arab, says it should be extended.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 5/12/2011, 12:54 AM / Last Update: 5/12/2011, 1:16 AM

Orit Strook
Orit Strook
Israel news photo

The State Attorney’s Office filed an appeal with the Supreme Court on Wednesday over what was defined as leniency in the sentence of Shilo resident Tzvi Strook, who was convicted last November of kidnapping an Arab, beating him and causing him serious bodily harm.

Strook’s indictment alleged that he, along with another man, beat a 15-year-old PA Arab shepherd and dragged him onto a tractor. The shepherd was injured and consequently lost consciousness, and when he woke up he was beaten once again, claims the indictment.

Strook, who is the son of Orit Strook who heads the Judea and Samaria Human Rights Organization, was sentenced at the end of March to a year and a half in prison.

In his ruling, Jerusalem District Court Judge Amnon Cohen expressed his shock at the severe bruises that were found on the body of the Arab boy. The judge ruled that the evidence presented about Strook’s character in his defense is inconsistent with his actions, and added that for this reason, a punishment that does not include imprisonment may not pass along the correct message about the severity of the incident. Strook was also ordered to compensate the Arab boy with a sum of 50,000 shekels.

The prosecution asked the court in its appeal on Wednesday to significantly worsen Strook’s sentence and impose an extended prison sentence on him.

Strook denied the accusations against him all along and said they were false. His legal council said that the police work was sloppy and that the testimonies by the Arabs were contradictory.

There were also many other questions that were raised around Strook’s verdict. His mother, Orit Strook, who said that there is proof that her son was somewhere else at the time alleged for the beating, outlined in a recent interview with the Hebrew Arutz Sheva many of the faults she has detected in the way her son’s trial was conducted.

“There was a winning combination here of very high motivations on the part of the Arabs and the lawyer who helped, as well as officials in the prosecution who were highly motivated because Tzvi is my son,” she said. “Almost all the witnesses said in court things that were the exact opposite of what they told the police, something that should be a clear indication of perjury, but the judge did the unthinkable and decided to opt for the court version of the testimony over the police version and determine that the witnesses were not false witnesses.”

Strook also noted that many crucial findings were absent from the case, including fingerprints, traces of blood, tire tracks and more.

“I do not know how that Arab shepherd was injured,” said Strook, “but they have a strategy of blood libels. Each time that an Arab is wounded they blame the Jewish residents or soldiers.”

Strook added that two of the witnesses in the case were terrorists, and that one of them was even brought in to testify while handcuffed, because he had been indicted for throwing Molotov cocktails. “The judge preferred to believe him, and once the judge decided that, all the doubts we raised simply disappeared,” she said.