Saturday, October 31, 2020

Primary suspect of Abu Khdeir‘s murder convicted

By Bao Yen - April 19, 2016
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Jerusalem]

The main suspect in the murder of 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir was convicted of murder by a Jerusalem court on Tuesday after the defendant's insanity plea was rejected.

The court ruled that Yosef Chaim Ben-David, ringleader in the kidnap and brutal killing of the Palestinian teenager in July 2014, was "fully aware of his actions" at the time and could have prevented the crime from taking place, Haaretz reported.

Ben-David was later charged with murder, kidnap for the purpose of murder and battery causing bodily harm. He was also found guilty of planning to kidnap Moussa Abu Zalloum from Beit Hanina in East Jerusalem.

He will be sentenced on May 3.

Last November, Ben-David's other two accomplices, both minors, were convicted of murder by the Jerusalem District Court. One received a life sentence and the other 21 years in prison. Each was forced to pay Abu Khdeir's family 30,000 shekels (around $7,700) in compensation.

Although Ben-David confessed to carrying out the crime, his conviction was delayed at the last minute due to psychiatric evaluation saying that he was not in control of his actions at the time of the murder.


The court also concluded at the time that they did not have enough evidence to convict Ben-David.

Abu Khdeir's family told Ma'an News that they were relieved by the court's decision, while demanding a life sentence for Ben-David. The family was convinced that Ben-David carried out the killing at "full mental capability".

Mohammad Abu Khdeir, a 16-year-old Palestinian boy, was abducted early on July 2, 2014 near his home in the neighborhood of Shufat in East Jerusalem. He was then taken to the Jerusalem Forest, beaten and burned alive by his kidnappers.

Ben-David's conviction of murder came shortly after the Israeli soldier who shot at point-blank a subdued Palestinian in Hebron on March 24 was charged with manslaughter and "unbecoming conduct," Haaretz reported.

The incident was caught on camera and the soldier was heard saying that wounded Palestinian Abdel al-Sharif "deserves to die" before shooting at al-Sharif's head.

The court ruled that the soldier's motive was "revenge" and not self-defense, and that his action was a "violation of the rules of engagement, and without operational justification."

Subsequent investigations into the incident have however sparked much controversy among the public. While Israel's justice system was widely criticized for its alleged immunity for Israeli military forces, many Israeli politicians have voiced their support for the soldier.

"As the father of a soldier I understand all the soldiers' parents," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last month with the father of the convicted soldier. "I want to tell the public, lower the flames. I am sure the military tribunal will consider all the circumstances of the incident.”


"Our soldiers are not murderers, they are operating against murderers," Netanyahu added. "And even when a soldier makes a mistake I hope that a way will be found to balance between the action and the event."



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