Israel Police and the State Prosecution will pay Hakol Hayehudi reporter Elhanan Groner following his summons for an interrogation based on false grounds, violation of protocol in interrogating journalists, and blocking his Twitter account, following Groner’s criticism of Judea and Samaria police conduct in the case of the killing of Ahuvia Sandak.
Jerusalem Magistrate Court judge Efrat Eichenstein ruled that the state will pay Groner an amount of NIS 5,000 ($1375.25). Honenu attorney Menashe Yado represented Groner.
Ahuvia Sandak, 16, was killed on December 21, 2020, when the vehicle he was in rolled over during a police chase near the settlement of Kochav HaShar in the Binyamin region. A vehicle driven by police detectives rammed into Sandak’s car causing his death and the injuries of the other four passengers.
Groner tweeted a video showing police detective Yossi Ovadia arriving at the scene of the accident, with the caption: “This is the face of the Judea and Samaria police district – Yossi Ovadia, an investigator from the J&S district arrives at the scene of the murder with a smile smeared across his face.”
In response, the state prosecution told Twitter to shut down Groner’s account and he was summoned for questioning for violating a gag order. However, it turned out that the gag order was issued after Groner had posted his tweet.
Despite this chronological inconsistency, Groner was summoned to a police interrogation, where his statement that he was a reporter was ignored, a violation of the police protocol for interrogating reporters.
The female police investigator from the Ma’ale Adumim precinct submitted a memo stating that she did not know Groner was a reporter, even though a recording of her conversation with him includes his statement that he is a reporter, and her response, “I don’t care.”
The prosecution and the police also misled the court by stating that Groner exposed the name of one of the suspects in a criminal case, meaning the detectives who rammed into Sandak’s car. But of course, Ovadia arrived on the scene after the event and was not in any way a suspect, hence his name was not part of the gag order.