The former mayor of the northern Druze town of Julis was convicted of murder Tuesday over a shooting nearly four years ago that was caught on video.
Salman Amar, 58, was indicted in 2016 over the killing of gardening contractor Monir Nibwani, with whom he had been involved in an ongoing clan feud before the shooting in a parking lot near the Julis town hall.
Amar’s lawyers had argued that he had acted in self-defense after being attacked by Nibwani, who in the video of the killing was seen wielding a club, a claim rejected by the Haifa District Court.
Following Tuesday’s ruling, prosecutors asked that Amar be immediately taken into custody, but the court dismissed the request.
“I’m sure I’m innocent,” Channel 12 news quoted Amar as saying while he left the courtroom. “The judges marked me out from the first day for their own reasons. That’s their right.”
Amar’s lawyers said they would prepare to file an appeal after sentencing.
In the video of the incident, Amar is seen parking his car in the lot adjacent to the council building while another car blocks him in.
Nibwani then emerges from the second car, pulling a long wooden club or baseball bat from the trunk. Nibwani seems to threaten Amar as he is getting out of his car.
As Amar is shown scrambling back inside the car, the video shows Nibwani start to smash the windows and car with the bat.
Another man approaches to break up the fight. As he does so, Amar gets out of the car and fires at Nibwani several times, hitting him in the chest and stomach.
As Nibwani is hunched over, the video appears to show Amar fire at least two more shots to his head at point-blank range before Nibwani drops to the ground.