Israeli Soldier Gets 7 Months After Filming His Abuse of Palestinian Detainee

Soldier hit and kicked prisoner, and filmed on cell phone as colleague gave detainee an electric shock in 'brutal' attack.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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Israeli soldiers take position in the West Bank city of Hebron, September 22, 2013.
Israeli soldiers in the West Bank (illustrative)Credit: Reuters
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

An Israeli soldier who filmed himself attacking a Palestinian detainee on an army base last October was sentenced to seven months in jail Thursday. The prisoner was also given an electric shock by a fellow soldier during the attack.

The soldier, from the religious Netzah Yehuda Battalion, was originally indicted on four counts of abuse, but admitted two of them as part of a plea bargain agreement.

One of the cases involved a detainee from the West Bank village of Safarin, who was arrested and taken to the base, near Jenin, where soldiers from the battalion served. The soldier hit the prisoner on the head, kicked him and stepped on his feet, while another soldier, who was also indicted, gave the prisoner an electric shock with a medical device.

The soldier filmed the acts on his cell phone, and laughter could be heard.

The military court in Jaffa said Thursday that the laughter demonstrated the attitude of the defendant and his friend to the crime, since if they thought it was funny, it was a clear expression of their disrespect for the victim and social values.

In its ruling, the court said the victim’s pleas to stop the abuse could clearly be heard in the video. The use of a device to shock the patient was called a degrading, disgusting and brutal act by the court.

After that initial incident, the soldier was involved in a further attack the following week: he kicked a Palestinian prisoner, while another soldier also hit and kicked the detainee.

The guilty soldier expressed remorse in court, saying he knew it was immoral to treat a person in such a way. The court noted in his favor his service as a combat soldier in Netzah Yehuda, but nonetheless that he had failed repeatedly with his violent acts.

The seven-month sentence included time served: the soldier, who has not been named, has been held in jail since October. One of the three judges had voted for a five-month sentence.

The soldier’s lawyer, Adi Kedar from Honenu, called the sentence severe and one that reflected a trend in military courts. Kedar noted the court and prosecution’s complete disconnect from operational activities in the field – as well as the difficult situation the soldiers must face in their daily duties.