Israel Appeals Officer's Lenient Sentence for Fatal Shooting of Palestinian Teen

Court sentences ex-policeman to 9 months in prison; State Prosecutor says that 'the imprisonment period is inappropriate given the severity of his actions'

The killing of Nadim Nuwara, from two different angles
CNN and security cameras

The State Prosecutor's Office appealed Sunday a court's 9-months imprisonment sentence for former officer who shot an unarmed Palestinian teenager to death in 2014. The State is seeking harsher punishment. 

Ben Dery shot Nadim Nawara at the Beitunia Checkpoint during Nakba day events in 2014. As part of a plea deal, the Jerusalem District Court sentenced the former officer to a fine and 9 months in prison. The State decided to demand a harsher punishment since "the imprisonment period is inappropriate given the severity of his actions. The punishment given by the District Court does not reflect the severity of the event for which Deri was convicted." 

As part of the plea deal, Dery confessed to injury in aggravated circumstances and to causing death by negligence after shooting Nawara with live ammunition at a protest in Beitunia, when he had meant to shoot a rubber bullet. The original charge was of manslaughter but due to the difficulty proving that Dery knew that he was shooting live bullets rather than rubber ones, the prosecutor offered him a plea deal.

Nadim Nuwara (center) a moment after being shot in Bitunya, May 15, 2014.
Reuters

The appeal was submitted by the director of the criminal department at the State Prosecutor's Office Adv. Yosef Esh and lawyer Hila Gorani. The appeal claims that "the district court was mistaken in sentencing Dery to a punishment that does not adequately express the value of protecting human life, nor the severity of his actions or the degree of his guilt." The State Prosecutor's Office charges that Dery shot Nawara (even if he meant to shoot with a rubber bullet) "even though Nawara presented no danger to the armed force and even though Dery did not feel in any danger."

In response to the verdict given in April, Siam Nuwara, the father of Nadim, told Haaretz that, "We are not surprised by the ridiculous sentence. As soon as the plea agreement was signed we knew that this was the direction." He added: "It's interesting that the boy Ahmed Mansara, who was convicted, gets 13 years in prison," said Nuwara, referring to a 13-year-old Palestinian boy who was sentenced to prison for stabbing a Jewish boy riding his bicycle in Jerusalem in October, 2015, "while Dery – who I am convinced murdered Nadim intentionally – gets only 9 months, and then hypocritically appeal the severity of the sentence."

 Aerial shot showing the incident
Ben Dery in the Jerusalem District Court on April 25, 2018.
Emil salman