Omar Abu Jariban - Mohammed Dabah, B’Tselem
Omar Abu Jariban. Photo by Mohammed Dabah, B’Tselem
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Michal Fattal
Assaf Yakutieli, one of the two officers convicted of negligent homicide of a Palestinian man, in a Jerusalem court Photo by Michal Fattal

An attorney for one of the police officers convicted of negligently causing the death of a Palestinian man in Israel illegally sought to lay part of the blame on the deceased in a court hearing on Thursday.

Lawyer Natalie Shtrull made her comments at an appeal hearing at the Jerusalem District Court for policemen Baruch Peretz and Assaf Yakutieli, both convicted in May 2012 for the negligent homicide of Omar Abu Jariban.

In 2008, Jariban, who had illegally entered Israel from Gaza, was seriously injured after a car he stole rolled over on Route 6. He was admitted to the hospital with broken bones and neurological injuries before being released in a state of confusion, still attached to a catheter.

After space was not found for him in a prison, he was left by police on the side of a highway near an army camp in the West Bank. His body was found there two days later. It was later determined that Jariban died of dehydration.

Peretz, who was the on-duty officer during the incident, was found guilty of authorizing Yakutieli to leave Jariban on the side of the road that night, unable to walk and still attached to a catheter. The two policemen were subsequently sentenced to 30 months in prison, with the trial judge terming their conduct "ugly and nauseating."

Shtrull argued in court that her client's sentence should be reduced to community service because Jariban was partly to blame for his own death. She justified her case by saying, "the fact that this was an illegal entrant who caused an accident on Route 6, hurt six people and didn't cooperate with and mocked police."

No document indicates that six people were injured. The number generally referred to is much less.

"Isn't he partly responsible?" Shtrull added. "Does he bear no responsibility?"