State urges life sentences for Arab teen's killers

Prosecutors and family of Mohammed Abu Khdeir demand Israel's harshest punishment against two youths who participated in his murder.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Mohammed Abu Khder's parents
Mohammed Abu Khder's parents
Flash 90

Israeli prosecutors called on Wednesday for life sentences for two young Jews convicted of burning alive a Palestinian teen, in a revenge attack for the abduction and later murder of three Israeli teens in June 2014. 

The request was made at an emotional hearing in a Jerusalem court for the two, who were minors at the time of the attack in which they and a third man snatched Mohammed Abu Khder, 16, from an eastern Jerusalem street and subsequently killed him.

Yosef Haim Ben-David, 31, is said to have led the attack on Abu Khder but his lawyers say he suffers from a mental illness and was not
responsible for his actions at the time.

The court has found that he committed the crime but is yet to rule if he is mentally competent.

The two others were 16 when they were charged in 2014 but are now adults. They cannot be identified by court order.

The prosecutor said the attacks came against the backdrop of ideological hatred and called for life sentences.

The court is due to hand down its sentence on February 4, with the ruling on Ben-David's sanity expected two days earlier.

Parents demand justice

Both of Abu Khder's parents took the stand in the hearing to call for severe sentences.

The two defendants bowed their heads when Abu Khder's mother began to speak. At one point she addressed the two teenagers. 

"My son Mohammed was the same age as you. Why did you do this to him?" Suha Abu Khder asked through tears. "I know my son won't come back but I want them to be punished to be a lesson and so this doesn't happen to any other mother."

His father Hussein, speaking in Arabic, told the three judges "we are living in a nightmare. I wake up in the night screaming."

He called on Israeli authorities to demolish the houses of the assailants' families as they regularly do with Palestinian terrorists.

The court's actions are being closely watched at a time of renewed Palestinian Arab violence. A wave of Arab knife, gun and car-ramming terror attacks against Israelis began in October.

AFP contributed to this report. 




top