Man with Asperger's 'illegally interrogated'

Lawyer of youth who threw glass bottle at leftist protest says police didn't use a special investigator required for the mentally ill.

Ari Yashar,

The radical left-wing protest in Tel Aviv
The radical left-wing protest in Tel Aviv
Tomer Neuberg/Flash 90

The lawyer of a young man indicted for allegedly planning to attack a far-left protest in Tel Aviv just under two weeks ago accused police on Thursday of breaching the law, in the way they interrogated her client who has Asperger's syndrome.

Attorney Moran Gross told Army Radio that regular investigators conducted the interrogation of her 18-year-old client for several days, even though the law stipulates that special investigators must be brought in immediately for any suspect who suffers from a mental disorder.

Asperger's syndrome is a form of autism that particularly affects social interaction, and Gross noted that police were aware of her client's condition from the very night he was arrested - and yet they used a regular investigator on him for four days.

"The police violated the basic rights of a person with special needs and investigated him not once but twice with a regular investigator. Only after four days of detention were the police so kind as to bring a special investigator to conduct the investigation," said Gross.

The lawyer warned that a criminal investigation was liable to cause "enormous and potentially irreversible" damage to the 18-year-old.

"There is no need to expand upon the pressure that a criminal investigation can put on a normal person, and all the more so for someone with Asperger’s syndrome," she added.

At the radical leftist rally against alleged right-wing "incitement" and the "occupation" two weeks ago, the youth was arrested for throwing a glass bottle at the demonstrators. He was charged with assaulting an officer, possessing a knife and attempted assault.

Gross said she plans to file a complaint to the internal affairs unit of the Justice Ministry, while the police claimed in a statement that their investigation followed protocol.