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Following a complaint by the Clinic: Indictment against a police officer who humiliated and degraded a transgender woman

February 2, 2017

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Last December, the Police Investigation Unit (MAHASH) filed an indictment against a traffic police officer who is accused of humiliating and degrading a transgender woman by publicizing her topless picture in an internal police WhatsApp group. The indictment was issued following a complaint by the Multiculturalism and Diversity Clinic, which has been accompanying the plaintiff for about a year, with the help of students Jenan Abu Shtaya, Michal Patlas and Yuval Simhi.

The indictment accounts how a group of police officers, including the defendant, detained the plaintiff under the pretext that she did not stop at a stop sign. Following an argument that ensued, the plaintiff was arrested and handcuffed, and led to the Sharet Police Station in Tel Aviv. During her stay at the station, the defendant photographed the plaintiff with his cellular phone, under humiliating and degrading circumstances, with the video showing her décolletage and revealing part of her breasts.

The indictment goes on to detail how the defendant sent the video to the rest of the officers in the unit, through the WhatsApp application. Following this, the video was circulated on the Internet and was eventually seen also by the plaintiff's relatives, for whom it was the first exposure to the fact that she had gone through a sex-change operation.  As a result, the plaintiff began to receive threats from family members, and started to fear for her life; she avoided visiting her parents' home, and even left her apartment and moved to another town. According to the indictment, the officer committed offenses against the Prevention of Sexual Harassment Law and the Protection of Privacy Law - for which the penalty is up to five years in prison.

Report in Haaretz