An Israel Defense Forces soldier from a unit made up exclusively of ultra-Orthodox Jewish men was convicted on Wednesday in the Central Military Court of illegal use of a weapon and disgraceful conduct.
The soldier, a member of the Nahal Haredi Brigade unit, was found guilty as a result of photos taken on his cellular phone, in which a Palestinian prisoner was shown tied up. The pictures were discovered when a military criminal investigation team conducted a search for drug use in the unit.
In addition to the Nahal soldier who was convicted, three other members of the Orthodox army unit were caught with the incriminating photos on their cell phones, leading to an indictment against the four for abuse and illegal use of weapons.
The investigation revealed that the soldiers took videos on their cell phones documenting abuse and humiliation of Palestinian prisoners by soldiers in the West Bank. The investigation team believes that the videos were taken by other soldiers that have yet to be identified, and the suspects received them from an unknown source.
Ayal Noon, the attorney representing two of the soldiers, commented on the indictment, saying that "this is an unacceptable, and inappropriate incident that must be eradicated – however, it must be done through education, not criminalization."
The attorney continued, saying "this is a reality that has been in existence since 1948 and [these soldiers should not be indicted] just as they never thought to put Ehud Barak or Danny Yotam on trial when they were photographed on the wing of a plane while stepping on the body of a terrorist [1972, AP]."
He chastised the military establishment for their handling of the situation, saying that a decades-old practice is falling on the backs of a few soldiers. He added that these are "good soldiers, and this is a job for the head education officer."
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