5 Border Police Sentenced to Jail for Torturing Arab Hotel Workers

Five border policemen have been sentenced to prison terms for torturing a group of Arab hotel workers in Tel Aviv in 1987.

Eli Gabai, 24, of Mazkeret Batya, near Jerusalem, regarded by the court as the ringleader, was sentenced Wednesday to two years in prison, of which he must serve at least one. The others, all 25, from various towns and villages, were sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment and another 10 months on probation.

In addition, each was ordered to pay 1,000 shekels, about $400, to three of the six Arabs they attacked.

The eight Arabs in question were living in a ground-floor apartment on Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Street, rented for them by the nearby Concord Hotel, where they worked.

Two days before Independence Day 1987, two of the border policemen searched the apartment and left.

But at about I a.m. on Independence Day, they and three others came to the apartment, broke down the door and attacked two of the occupants.

The following night they again forced their way into the apartment, beating the Arabs present on the feet and head with clubs, electric wire and a metal ashtray. Burning cigarettes were also extinguished on their feet.

Passing sentence, Judge Moshe Talgam said: “These are acts which cause me to shudder by the associations they raise, precisely because I am a Jew.

“The punishment that is required, given the defendants’ jobs as policemen, sworn to uphold law and order but who acted in accordance with deviant norms, is a normative punishment that will emphasize to them and their fellow man how much opposed their acts are to the basic norms of law, order and fairness.”

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