Haredi Soldier Indicted on Two Charges of Abusing Palestinian Detainees

Fifth member of IDF Netzah Yehuda Battalion to be indicted for manhandling detainees.

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Religious IDF soldiers.
Religious IDF soldiers.Credit: Alon Ron

A soldier from the ultra-Orthodox Netzah Yehuda battalion has been indicted on charges of aggravated abuse of two Palestinian detainees in two separate incidents last month. The indictments, which were filed with the Jaffa military court, accuse the soldier of applying an electric current to one of the detainees with a medical device. This is the fifth indictment in connection with that incident, following separate charges filed last Thursday against four soldiers, including some who filmed the incident on video.

In one incident, soldiers are accused of electrocuting a prisoner and filming the act on a cell phone. The soldiers are all part of the IDF’s Netzah Yehuda battalion (better known as the Nahal Haredi battalion).

On the night of October 7, Netzah Yehuda soldiers arrested a Palestinian from the village of Safarin and took him to the military base where the battalion is stationed near Jenin. Once there, according to indictments issued Thursday, one soldier beat the Palestinian along with others. He kicked the prisoner, stepped on his legs and hit him on the head, all while the prisoner was blindfolded and handcuffed. The soldier filmed the incident with a cell phone. According to documents, other soldiers attached electrodes to the Palestinian’s neck and electrocuted him, even increasing the voltage as the prisoner begged them to stop. During questioning by military police, the soldier said he was acting out of “rage over the wave of terror attacks.”

During the probe, investigators uncovered another incident in which a Palestinian prisoner was beaten by a Netzah Yehuda soldier. In an indictment issued against the soldier, it was alleged that after a Palestinian from the village of Atil was arrested, he was severely beaten. The new indictment alleges that after the Palestinian was arrested in the West Bank village of Kafr Safarin and taken to the battalion outpost, he was put in an area where the soldier’s company was serving. The soldier, identified as R., is then said to have plugged in the medical device, which emits electricity thorough electrodes, turned it on and turned up the voltage. The young Palestinian begged the soldier to stop, according to the indictment, while another soldier who is also accused of abuse, filmed the incident.

Three days later, when a second Palestinian was arrested by soldiers from the battalion and taken to the outpost, R. is again said to have used the medical device on the detainee, allegedly applying it to the Palestinian’s temples. In both cases, the Palestinians were handcuffed and blindfolded. The names of the five defendants is subject to a gag order. R.’s lawyer, Capt. Raslan Othman of Military Advocate General’s office, said the charge of aggravated abuse is unfounded.

On Sunday the four soldiers indicted earlier were ordered held in custody until the end of criminal proceedings against them, but their lawyers, who are from the right-wing legal organization Honenu, which provides assistance to Israeli Jews accused of harming Palestinians, said they intend to appeal the decision.

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