A nationalist who was violently beaten by police officers during an anti-disengagement protest in 2005 will be paid a total of 45,000 shekels in compensation, a court ruled on Thursday. The beating was caught on video by Arutz Sheva.
The incident occurred on June 29, 2005, several weeks before the expulsion from Gush Katif, and during the height of nationwide anti-disengagement protests.
The protestor, Akiva Vitkin, was detained by police was attacked twice: the first time was by riot police officer Eran Naim, who stuck his fingers in Vitkin’s nostrils and pulled his head backward, leaving Vitkin with facial injuries and bleeding.
Vitkin was beaten a second time by riot policeman Eliran Avraham after he was arrested and taken to the police station. Avraham badly beat Vitkin while he was shackled in an interrogation room.
Naim did not deny that he had attacked Vitkin, but argued that his actions fell into the category of reasonable use of force by an officer – an argument rejected by senior police officers, who said the methods used by Naim were “not taught and not recommended.” The court found Naim guilty and sentenced him to six months public service. Naim was also dismissed from the police.
Following the verdict, Vitkin decided to sue both violent officers for damages. The court subsequently ruled that Naim would pay Vitkin 25,000 shekels in compensation. Avraham was dismissed from the police as well.
On Thursday, a new decision based on a compromise agreement reached by both parties stated that an additional 19,000 shekels will be added to the amount owed by Naim: 12,000 shekels that will be paid by the police and another 7,000 shekels that will be paid by Avraham.
Orit Strook, who heads the Yesha Human Rights Organization which submitted the lawsuit on Vitkin’s behalf, welcomed Thursday’s verdict.
“For us as an organization it was important that the damage will be paid from the pocket of the abusive officers but it was also important that the police will bear the burden as well,” she told Arutz Sheva. “It cannot be that a person is beaten by a police officer while detained in a closed room in a police station and none of the policemen and officers do anything to stop this abuse. In this situation, the police themselves must bear the burden of the damage done to the victim.”