Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Israel: Israel Police refutes claims of Ni'lin video forgery

In July 2010, the special military court on the Kirya base convicted Lt. Col. Omri Borberg, former commander of Battalion 71 of the Armored Corps, for the offense of attempted threats, and convicted Staff Sgt. (Res.) Leonardo Corea for the unlawful use of a weapon. The two were also convicted of unbecoming conduct. The offenses for which they were convicted carry a maximum penalty of three years' imprisonment and the convictions will be listed in their criminal records.

Borberg and Corea were convicted following the shooting of a bound Palestinian detainee in the West Bank village of Ni'lin in July 2008. The incident was documented on video camera by a resident of the village, through the window of her house, and was exposed by B'Tselem. The original video tape belongs to the resident's family and has remained in their possession since the beginning of the affair. It was not introduced into evidence at the trial because the military prosecution and the family were unable to reach agreement on it.

During the arguments in court on the penalty to be imposed, Lt. Col. Borberg's counsel contended that the video tape documenting the incident had been tampered with. Following this claim, B'Tselem helped to mediate between the military prosecution and the family, and the family provided the original tape to the Military Police Investigation Unit. It was then handed over to the Forensics Department of the Israel Police.

The Forensics Department analyzed the tape and determined that all the segments of the video of the shooting in Ni'lin were genuine. The department did not find any sign of editing, photo processing, or intervention of any kind. These conclusions were stated in the opinion of Superintendent Alan Tchaikovsky, head of the digital evidence division in the Forensics Department, submitted to the military court on 6 January 2011.

In his testimony before the court, Supt. Tchaikovsky emphasized that the video tape had been filmed legitimately and had not undergone any editing. Regarding the footage that was relevant to the hearing, Tchaikovsky stated unequivocally that there had not been any processing by means of Photoshop and that all the footage was authentic. In addition, he rejected the claim of Lt. Col. Borberg's counsel that the two relevant video segments had been joined by editing.

Source: B'TSELEM - The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories