Prosecution to indict Israeli teen for Palestinian woman’s killing

Court extends detention of suspect alleged to have hurled stone that struck Aisha Rabi; state to pursue manslaughter charge, official says

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

Palestinians mourn Aisha Rabi at her funeral  in the West Bank village of Bidya, near Salfit, on October 13, 2018. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)
Palestinians mourn Aisha Rabi at her funeral in the West Bank village of Bidya, near Salfit, on October 13, 2018. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)

State prosecutors informed the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court Tuesday that they intend to indict the prime suspect in the deadly October stoning of a Palestinian woman.

The court agreed to the prosecution’s request to extend the remand of the Israeli teen until Sunday in order to provide time to submit charges against him.

Police in a statement said the prosecution “intends to submit an indictment in the coming days.”

A Justice Ministry official told The Times of Israel that the state is planning to charge the suspect with manslaughter, a crime whose maximum sentence is 20 years behind bars.

Aisha Rabi (Courtesy)

The minor was arrested on December 30 along with two other students from the Pri Haaretz yeshiva high school in the northern West Bank settlement of Rehelim. A week later, two more boys from the same boarding school were arrested.

Last Sunday, the Shin Bet security service, which is running the investigation along with the police’s nationalistic crime unit, partially lifted a gag order on the case and announced that the five boys were suspected of involvement in the killing of Aisha Rabi.

The 47-year-old Palestinian mother of eight was fatally struck on the head by a rock while driving in a car with her husband and daughter near the northern West Bank’s Tapuah Junciton on October 12.

The teens are suspected of “terror offenses, including murder,” the Shin Bet said.

The lawyers for all five suspects say their clients remained silent throughout authorities’ questioning and have refused to cooperate with the investigation.

Lat week, the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court released four of the suspects to house arrest.

At the request of the Israel Police, the presiding judge, Guy Avnon, permitted the publication of some of his remarks upon extending the remand of the prime suspect.

“In the case of this suspect, the severity of the suspicions is very high,” Avnon wrote in his Thursday decision. He said releasing the suspect to alternative detention was out of the question, as he could present a danger to others or attempt to obstruct the investigation.

The Justice Ministry official did not reveal whether the prosecution plans to indict the other four suspects.

Police scuffle with protesters demonstrating in support of the Jewish youth suspect in a major security probe whose details are under gag order, January 5, 2019. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

The prime suspect’s father released a statement earlier Tuesday asserting that his son was innocent and that the Shin Bet was violently interrogating him.

He claimed the teen had been at a Shabbat meal with dozens of other Pri Haaretz students when the attack took place.

The Shin Bet has come under fire from far-right activists and some lawmakers over the minors’ extended detention, and has vigorously denied accusations of torture.

But Avnon said: “It is clear that the investigation unit, together with the Shin Bet, is carrying out a thorough, serious, strenuous investigation while attempting to reach the truth.”

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