A 17-year old Jerusalem Arab was given just a two month sentence Sunday over his role in the attempted lynch murder of a Jewish man who was to be married on the evening of his attack.
Asher Pinto, who was driving in the Abu Tor neighborhood on his way to the Mount of Olives cemetery, was savagely set upon by a gang of Arabs and was nearly killed before police arrived to save him and his friend.
Pinto, who was on his way to visit his mother's grave on the day of his wedding about six months ago, was attacked as he and a friend drove on the main street of Abu Tor. A gang of Arabs threw a bottle at the vehicle, releasing a white chemical that prevented them from seeing the road ahead. As they stopped the car, dozens of Arabs threw rocks and bottles at the vehicle, and attempted to pry the door open, with the intention of lynching Pinto and his companion.
Police arrived and dispersed the crowd, but for some reason failed to record evidence, including fingerprints, from the vehicle – despite being begged to do so by Pinto. After a lengthy investigation, police were able to establish the presence of only one suspect at the lynching – a 17 year old Arab youth from the neighborhood. But without physical evidence – such as fingerprints – linking the Arab to the attempted murder, police were unable to make their case.
As a result, prosectors offered the Arab a plea deal – two months in prison. However, the defense demanded – and received – a suspension of the sentence until the youth finishes high school.
According to family members, that sentence will never be carried out – because the family is set to emigrate to the U.S. in the coming months.
Orit Struck, had of the Yesha Human Rights Council, which helped represent Pinto, said that “the careless and clumsy manner in which police handled this case shows just how little law enforcement cares about its basic obligation to defend citizens in Jerusalem. The system encourages violence, instead of discouraging it.”
Guy Avgi, an attorney who was involved in the case, said “it is diffucult to accept that someone who attempted to lynch and murder another individual would be given such a light sentence. It is a joke. The results of this case are a serious indictment against law enforcement in Israel,” he added.