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Abu Khdeir verdict expected Monday

Three Jewish defendants confessed to kidnapping, burning alive Arab teen as ‘revenge’ for murder of Jewish teens

Police escort Yosef Ben David (in green), one of the Jewish suspects in the murder of Muhammed Abu Khdeir, in the Jerusalem District Court on June 8, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Police escort Yosef Ben David (in green), one of the Jewish suspects in the murder of Muhammed Abu Khdeir, in the Jerusalem District Court on June 8, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The Jerusalem District Court is due to rule on Monday on the guilt of the three defendants in the Abu Khdeir kidnapping-murder case.

The three Jewish defendants are suspected of kidnapping 16-year-old East Jerusalem resident Muhammad Abu Khdeir, a resident of the Shuafat refugee camp, beating him unconscious and then burning him alive in a terror attack that took place on July 2, 2014.

They were caught several days after the act and confessed to the deed during their investigation by the Shin Bet security service.

The group was led by Yosef Ben David, a 31-year-old ultra-Orthodox man from Jerusalem. The other two members of the group are minors identified by their Hebrew initials Aleph and Yod.

 

Ben David’s attorney Asher Ohayon claims that his client is not responsible for his actions. He did not produce a psychiatric opinion to back this claim and Ben David did not try to prove his innocence.

The three suspects reconstructed the kidnapping and murder during the investigation.

Hussein Abu Khdeir, the father of the slain Palestinian teen Muhammed Abu Khdeir, outside his home in East Jerusalem, October 21, 2014 (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Hussein Abu Khdeir, the father of the slain Palestinian teen Muhammed Abu Khdeir, outside his home in East Jerusalem, October 21, 2014 (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Uri Korb of the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office concluded that Ben David was responsible for his actions and is fit to stand trial.

According to the Hebrew daily Haaretz, Korb presented evidence, including clips where Ben David seems alert and aware of his surroundings.

The defendants said the kidnapping was done in revenge for the kidnapping-murder of three Jewish teens in the West Bank the previous month.

Naftali Fraenkel, Gil-ad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach were kidnapped and killed by Hamas-affiliated terrorists on June 12, 2014. Their killers were caught in September of that year. The kidnapping-murders were key steps in an escalation that led to Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza that summer.

The two minors awaiting a ruling on their conviction Monday attempted during their trial to downplay their role in the murder, saying Ben David pressured them to assist him. They claimed that Ben David fed them energy drinks and pills in the hours leading up to the murder and one of them, Aleph, said that he was in Ben David’s car during the killing and burning of Abu Khdeir.

Yod claimed that even though he was not inside the car when Abu Khdeir was killed, he knew the act itself was perpetrated by Ben David, according to Haaretz. “He insists that Ben David carried out this act on his own. He confirms that they kidnapped him but didn’t know that it would lead to his death,” Yod’s lawyer, Zion Amir, said.

Abu Khdeir’s family was present at all court discussions. They often complained of ethnic discrimination and a double standard in the court’s handling of the Jewish terrorists. In the concluding court hearings, Abu Khdeir’s father said, “Why did they not destroy the houses of these three murderers until today? If this was Arab [terrorists] they would long ago have demolished their homes. It is because they burned my son alive that people go on stabbing sprees today.”

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