In Israeli Court, Suspects in Mohammed Abu Khdeir Killing to Plead Insanity

The two minors who have confessed to involvement in the killing ‘aren’t functioning individuals,’ a source says.

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
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Palestinians carry the body of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir in Jerusalem on Friday, July 4, 2014.
Palestinians carry the body of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir in Jerusalem on Friday, July 4, 2014.Credit: AP
Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

The three main suspects in the kidnapping and murder of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir two weeks ago will probably claim temporary insanity, associates of the three said Sunday.

The three males, who have already confessed, are a 30-year-old man from a community near Jerusalem and two minors, one from Jerusalem and one from nearby Beit Shemesh. They are to be brought before the Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court Monday morning to have their detention extended.

“They live at the fringe of society and aren’t functioning individuals,” said a source close to both minors.

Also on Monday, the police are expected to declare their intent to prosecute the three and ask that their detention be extended until Friday to allow for preparation of an indictment. On Friday, the police are expected to request that the three be held in custody until the end of legal proceedings.

Police believe the kidnapping and murder of Abu Khdeir was committed to avenge the kidnapping-murder of three Jewish teens whose bodies had been buried only hours earlier.

Asked last week whether he had faith in Israel’s judicial system, Mohammed’s father Hussein Abu Khdeir told Haaretz: “I don’t trust them. Not in the least. I am afraid. I am really afraid. I think they will say that [the murderers] were insane and give them a year or two and that’s all.”

The three suspects have reenacted the kidnapping and murder; they were in the car when Abu Khdeir was snatched, assaulted, taken to the Jerusalem Forest and burned. An autopsy showed that although Abu Khdeir had been struck on the head, he was still alive when set on fire.

Three other suspects were released last week after it was determined that they were not involved in the killing, although they were allegedly part of the cell that was responsible for it. Their attorneys from the group Honenu said there was no evidence linking them to the murder and complained that they had been held for days without being allowed to see a lawyer.

According to its website, Honenu defends civilians and soldiers “who find themselves in legal entanglements due to defending themselves against Arab aggression, or due to their love for Israel.” The group said that defending these suspects was in keeping with its mission.

“Given the crazy, abnormal situation in the country, it’s natural that among the many people who approach us, some have been emotionally scarred by the security situation or by difficult personal circumstances and responded accordingly,” Honenu chief Shmuel Medad told the newspaper Besheva. “Apparently this is such a case.”

Meanwhile, the Jerusalem light rail ran its full route Sunday for the first time since rioters in Jerusalem’s Shoafat neighborhood destroyed stations and equipment after Abu Khdeir’s body had been found. As a result, the company CityPass, which operates the system, stopped service through Shoafat, leaving the large Jewish neighborhood Pisgat Ze’ev at the end of the route cut off.

On Sunday, police and security guards rode on light-rail trains as they passed through Arab neighborhoods.

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