Ahuvya Sandak
Ahuvya SandakCourtesy of the family

A source in Israel's Justice Ministry has slammed the police investigation of Ahuvya Sandak's murder as "negligent," Yediot Aharonot reported.

Sandak, 16 years old at the time of his death, was killed in December 2020 during a police chase in Samaria, when police officers attempted to apprehend a group of young Israeli men suspected of throwing stones at Arab vehicles in the area.

The investigation was handled by the Police Investigations Department, which examines cases in which police officers are suspected of wrongdoing. Last month, it was reported that Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar (New Hope) was considering whether to file an indictment against one of the officers.

"Within the Police Investigations Department (PID), there is sharp internal criticism over how the investigation was handled, and investigators are concerned that the decision of the PID chief, on the day of the incident, to release the police officers without interrogating them caused serious harm to the case," the source told Yediot Aharonot.

According to the source, "The file sat here for months and months, and no one touched it. They're afraid to make a decision. They want to take as much time as they can, and they don't want to rock the boat. We can't ignore the protests outside, and so they want to wait for a day on which the media is busy with something else in order to publish their decision. That's how the PID works. There is a desire not to fight the police too much and cause a lack of faith in it."

"From the start, the investigation here was handled in a negligent and unprofessional fashion," the source said. "Therefore it will be very difficult to find satisfactory proofs against the police officers, if there are any. And this is not a way to manage a case."

It also became clear that Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, who understood that the issue was very sensitive, decided to insist that all bodies involved in the investigation sign a document swearing them to secrecy. Such documents are usually reserved for only the most sensitive cases.

The Prosecutor's Office responded in the name of the PID, saying, "The investigation on the issue of the late Ahuvya Sandak's death was conducted thoroughly and professionally. The incident occurred during an operational activity on the part of the police, and at the request of the State Prosecutor, several supplementary investigations on the case were conducted, and professional opinions were requested. This is a decision which must be made on the basis of all the information and with great care."