The mother and father of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, a Palestinian teen who was kidnaped and murdered in 2014, testified at the sentencing hearing for his murderers and urged the state to treat them as it would any Palestinian terrorist.
In sentencing hearing at the Jerusalem District Court on Wednesday for the two minors convicted of his murder, the slain teen's parents also said they still fear for the lives of their other children, calling on the court to set an example of the two, who were convicted last November for murdering Abu Khdeir in July 2014.
The verdict in the case of 31 year-old Yosef Ben-Haim, the main suspect in the crime, was postponed after a last-minute submission of a private psychiatric assessment to the court.
Hussein Abu Khdeir, Mohammed's father, demanded that the court “demolish their houses, just as happens with Arabs. There should be equal penalties.
"If their houses had been demolished the Dawabsheh family wouldn’t have been burned. Light sentences encourage them to carry out further similar deeds,” he said, referencing a Palestinian family who suffered a similar fate when Jewish extremist burned their house down while they were asleep, killing infant Ali and both his parents.
“They burned him once, but we burn everyday” said the father, who owns an electric goods shop, adding: “My Jewish customers ask me if I hate them. I tell them I don’t. I hate those who did this. I ask you to punish them in the most severe manner.”
“My son was my whole life,” said his mother, Suha Abu Khdeir. She tearfully turned to the murderers and said: “Mohammed was your age. Why did you do this?”
“We hung up his photos in every room in the house. I still hear his voice from the street,” his father said, explaining how the murder shattered the family’s life. “We went to psychiatrists. Our life was dark. We stopped taking life seriously since Mohammed was burned. I don’t remember what I ate today or what I want to say.”
Suha, the mother, told the court that since the murder she doesn’t sleep at night and is worried about the lives of her other children. “My 14 year old son sleeps next to me. He’s afraid that he’ll be kidnaped. I’m tired” she added. “I’ve been worn out by the courts. They won’t return my son, but I want them to serve as examples to others so that it won’t happen again to any child.”
Abu Khdeir’s murderers kidnaped him near a mosque in the Shoafat neighborhood in East Jerusalem. They beat and strangled him, ultimately burning him to death in the Jerusalem Forest. Following the murder, a wave of violent demonstrations broke out in East Jerusalem. The three suspects were apprehended a few days later and confessed during their interrogation by the Shin Bet security service, after which they re-enacted the crime.
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