"I enter jail with my head held high," Shahar Mizrahi, the policeman who was convicted of killing a car thief and whose sentence was recently doubled by the High Court of Justice, said on Sunday as he began his 30-month jail term.
Last month, the Supreme Court upheld the Petah Tikva District Court's decision to reject Mizrahi's claim that he shot Mahmoud Ganaim in self-defense because he believed Ganaim had intended to run him over during a police raid in Pardes Hannah.
Mizrahi had shot Ganaim at close range and had admitted in questioning that he had not felt that his life was in danger when he fired his gun.
Mizrahi, who submitted his resignation to police human resources chief Maj. Gen. Amichai Shai, reported to Gilboa Prison, accompanied by relatives and supporters, including the Israel Police's northern district police chief, Shimon Koren.
President Shimon Peres has yet to decide whether to accept Mizrahi's request for clemency.
Speaking to reporters as he began his prison term, Mizrahi said he believed "the president would make the right decision," adding that he was "getting a lot of support from the public."
Koren, responding to claims that his appearance at the jail in uniform was sending a defiant message to the High Court's decision, said that he had come "to support the family."
"Shahar was a police officer up until two days ago and it was important for me to escort him," Koren said, adding that Mizrahi had been sent by Israel Police and "it was very important for me to be here."
Ra'am Ta'al MK Ahmed Tibi voiced his objection to Koren's presence outside Gilboa Prison, saying that it was "very serious that the commander of the police's northern district escorted and supported a criminal."
"The message being given from this act is serious and immoral and represents an act of defiance against the judicial system and the courts," Tibi said, adding that Mizrahi wasn't a police officer fighting crime but a rogue policeman who took a life in cold blood."
According to a statement from the national police headquarters, "The police appreciate Mizrahi's correct decision to resign, which was necessary in light of the court rulings and in light of his deep commitment to the values of the organization and its procedures."
According to Israel Prison Service procedures, imprisoned police officers are not placed among sentenced criminals whom they may have been responsible for arresting, nor are they placed in separate quarters where they would have to spend most of the day locked up to avoid being harmed by other prisoners.
Mizrahi will be placed in a section of the prison to which inmates on work detail are assigned.
The police released the following statement Friday: "In its decision, the court noted the complexity of the circumstances under which the policeman had been operating and the need to achieve a balance between clashing values. The court placed the sanctity of life as its top priority.
"In a democratic country, the public - and especially the police - must recognize unequivocally the supremacy of law and the rulings of the courts, and we must implement their decisions," the statement said
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now