Nine IDF soldiers who beat comrade likely to be let out of jail early for Rosh Hashanah
Soldiers who pleaded guilty to beating another member of their unit expected to be released from military prison after 45 days, nearly two weeks before their sentence ends.
Nine soldiers who pleaded guilty to beating another member of their unit in a case of violent hazing are expected to be released from military prison after 45 days, nearly two weeks before their sentence ends, so they can get out for Rosh Hashanah as part of a likely clemency deal for the holiday.
The charges were also reduced, from attacking under aggravated circumstances to perpetrating an attack that caused real injury. The defendants all serve in a combat unit in the Kfir Brigade.
The soldiers were demoted to private, one rank lower than the military prosecutor had demanded as part of the plea bargain. This was done at the request of the soldiers themselves before the plea bargain was concluded. They have also been given 60-day suspended sentences for three years.
The hazing took place earlier this month, when one of the soldiers in the brigade's reconnaissance unit decided to "punish" another, staging a mock trial in which soldiers were appointed defense attorney, prosecutor and judge. The soldier being hazed was told to put on his army-issue beret and was then beaten simultaneously by at least two others on both sides of his body.
The injured soldier collapsed on the floor, after which the soldiers who had beaten him picked him up, embraced him and gave him a present: a cover for his cell phone. The soldier injured in the hazing was treated at Haemek Hospital in Afula, where he was classified in moderate condition after suffering stomach injuries.
Sources said the incident appears to have been an outgrowth of ongoing tension in the brigade between newer members and longer-serving ones, who have requested preferential conditions.
The lawyer for one of the soldiers who pleaded guilty to involvement in the violence said what's most important about the plea bargain for his client is that he "will have a reduced criminal record" and will be released on Rosh Hashanah.
"This is a combat soldier who is the salt of the earth," said the lawyer, Shai Roda.