Will Muhammad Abu Khdeir’s Convicted Israeli Killers Get Off Scot-Free?
On July 2, 2014, Khdeir was kidnapped, forcefully taken to the Jerusalem Forest, brutally beaten and burned alive by his three Israeli abductors. An autopsy confirmed death by immolation - indicating burned soot inhaled into his respiratory tract and lungs while still alive. He experienced excruciating pain while dying.
On Monday, a Jerusalem district court convicted three Israelis for his murder - two minors and an adult, Yosef Ben David, the ringleader. His conviction was suspended after a psychiatric evaluation claimed he wasn’t mentally competent at the time of the killing - despite clear evidence he knew what he was doing, plenty to convict him of cold-blooded murder.
Both minors are scheduled to be sentenced in January. Will judicial leniency follow - perhaps letting them off scot-free despite long prison terms this type atrocity warrants?
Khdeir’s father, Hossein, blasted the court’s ruling, claiming Ben-David deception. “It’s all a lie,” he said. “I'm afraid that the court will eventually get them off the hook. I want justice (from) the court. Where's justice? The judges mustn't accept this.”
Evidence presented in court showed Ben-David was fully aware of what happened. He refused to defend himself at trial, his attorney arguing he wasn’t responsible for premeditated homicide - first degree murder in any legitimate tribunal.
The three culprits confessed to their crime, reenacting it for the court. Ben-David claimed it was in revenge for the earlier killing of three young Israelis.
Both minors downplayed their roles, blaming Ben-David for what happened, accusing him of giving them energy pills and drinks ahead of the crime.
One minor said he wasn’t directly involved, remaining in a car while it occurred. According to his attorney, “(h)e has repeatedly said that Ben-David did it alone. He acknowledges that they abducted Khdeir, but had no idea it would end in murder.”
Prosecutors said they acted on their own volition, noting information obtained during interrogations, adding: “The picture arising from the evidence is that Defendant B was excited by the revenge action and insisted that he and his co-defendants carry it out as planned.”
Khdeir’s father, Hussein, said he’ll “not accept less than a lifetime prison sentence (for all three culprits) and demand” their homes be demolished - how Israel treats families of Palestinian political prisoners.
“I don’t believe in the Israeli judiciary, and I want to see if they will be fair or not,” Hussein stressed. “We will go to the International Criminal Court if the Israeli court mitigates their sentence.”
At the time, the atrocity was condemned by Jews and Palestinians alike. Widespread clashes followed ahead of Israel launching premeditated aggression on Gaza on July 8, lasting 51 horrific days, independent investigations revealing systematic war crimes demanding accountability not likely coming.
Maybe Khdeir’s killers will get off scot-free or at most receive light sentences. Police states operate this way - Israel one of the worst.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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