Israel's Supreme Court on Monday lengthened by one year the prison sentence meted out to a West Bank resident convicted of kidnapping and assaulting a Palestinian minor.
Zvi Struk, 30, a resident of the Esh Kodesh outpost near Shilo, was convicted of the kidnapping and assault of a 15-year-old Palestinian, Amran Farah, by the Jerusalem District Court in November 2010 and sentenced to 18 months in prison.
According to the verdict, in 2007 Struk and another assailant who was never caught drove their ATV toward a group of Palestinians from the village of Kusra and started to chase them while firing in the air. The two men then grabbed Farah, beat him all over his body and dragged him to their vehicle. There they tied his hands behind his back covered his face and drove away with him in their vehicle. During the drive, the assailants beat Farah, who lost consciousness and awoke all wet, before dumping him, naked, in an open field.
Struk was also convicted of slaughtering one of Farah’s sheep.
Both Struk and the state appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court, which denied Struk’s appeal and accepted the state’s claim that the sentence had been too light.
“We must remember that the violation of causing bodily harm under aggravated circumstances did not stand alone, but was joined by three counts of assault, violations of cruelty to animals laws, and the crime of kidnapping for the sake of causing grave bodily injury, for which the maximum penalty is 20 years’ imprisonment,” wrote Justice Uri Shoham for the court panel, which included Justices Salim Joubran and Yoram Danziger.
“We cannot ignore the serious actions of the appellant, who committed a number of violent crimes against a minor and a helpless animal,” Shoham added, noting the crimes involved two different incidents and that Struk had not exhibited any signs of remorse or of accepting responsibility for his actions.
This led the court “to give greater weight to the public interest, which requires a suitable, punitive response to anyone involved in cruel, violent acts,” he wrote.
Struk’s mother, Orit Struk, who heads the Organization for Human Rights in Judea and Samaria and is a well-known figure in the settlement movement, said, “As opposed to the court, which preferred to believe the Arab witnesses, we believe in and are certain of Zviki’s innocence, feel pain at the success of those who sought to do him ill, and will try to help him withstand this difficult verdict.”
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now