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      Officer Convicted of Slapping Suspects Won't Be Jailed

      Lt. Adam Maloul was convicted of slapping Arab suspects in Samaria. He will not be jailed and will retain his rank. He already served 64 days.
      By Gil Ronen
      First Publish: 3/11/2010, 9:33 PM / Last Update: 3/11/2010, 9:43 PM

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      A military court decided Thursday not to jail a former deputy company commander in the Kfir Brigade, Lt. Adam Maloul, who was convicted of using undue force against Arab suspects in the village of Kadoum in Samaria. The court also rejected the prosecution's demand that Maloul be demoted to the rank of private.

      The court determined that the 64 days in which Maloul had been detained in military jail last year, and an additional 32 days he spent under house arrest, were punishment enough.

      The military court in Yafo (Jaffa) convicted Lt. Maloul last December of aggravated assault, for a September 2008 incident in which he allegedly slapped Arab suspects twice during a search for terrorists who had carried out a shooting attack. He was also convicted of conduct unbecoming an officer.

      The verdict aroused consternation among many Israelis, who saw it as hypocritical and unjust. A petition calling for Maloul's release collected thousands of signatures. “They ascribe criminal intent to me, but how will they prevent the next officer who serves in the Territories [Judea and Samaria -- ed.] from going to jail?” Maloul said in an interview after his conviction. “This verdict ties my hands and the hands of the IDF because no one knows how to answer these questions,” he said.  

      Maloul's commander, Colonel Itai Virov, expressed support for his action, telling the IDF court that “a slap, sometimes a blow to the back of the neck or chest, sometimes a knee or a choke-hold in order to calm the person down are reasonable” while conducting an arrest.

      For his testimony, Virov was given an official reprimand from Major-General Gadi Shamni, the then-Head of Central Command. The reprimand was expected to hurt Virov's career prospects in the military. Maloul's attorneys expressed concern over the reprimand, and said that it could deter other commanders from testifying on Maloul's behalf.

      Maj.-Gen. Shamni is now the IDF attache in Washington.