Israeli Court Rejects Prison Services' Decision to Release Palestinian Who Unknowingly Drove Terrorists to Attack Site

Hani Dari drove three Palestinians who carried out an attack in June 2017 that killed a border policewoman. The Israel Police Services' parole board decided to release him early, but the state won the appeal against it

Hani Dari at court, October 11, 2018.
Eliyahu Hershkovitz

The Be'er Sheva District Court rejected Thursday a decision by Israel Prison Services' parole board to release Hani Dari, an Israeli resident who unknowingly drove the terrorists who carried out the attack in which border policewoman Hadas Malka was killed.

The attack took place in June 2017 in Jerusalem's Old City when three Palestinian assailants armed with guns and knives attacked security forces. Malka, 23, was stabbed by one of the assailants while reaching for her gun. All three attackers were shot dead by officers at the scene. The attack was claimed by both ISIS and Hamas, but the Israeli army said it was carried out by a local cell.

Dari was found guilty for driving Palestinians who were residing in Israel illegally and carried out the attack. He was sentenced to 14 months in prison after pleading guilty to causing death by negligence and transporting an illegal resident under aggravated circumstances. He began serving in April 2018.

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Last week, the State Attorney's Office petitioned the District Court against the decision of the IPS parole board to cut Dari's sentence by one third. In the appeal, the state claimed that the parole board had made a mistake by not giving sufficient consideration to the severity of the offenses and to the results of Dari's actions. The state also claimed that the parole board had ignored the claims regarding the danger Dari posed. 

Malka's father, who attended the court hearing, said that "minimal justice has been reached, and the punishment should be more severe." Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated the court for its decision, tweeting: "This is the correct decision. Murderers and their helpers shoudl be punished with the utmost severity and serve their sentence in full."

Another officer was lightly wounded in the attack.  Two Palestinian bystanders were also wounded in the shootout, one moderately and one lightly.

The Knesset is expected to pass a bill in the upcoming fall session meant to ease overcrowded prisons conditions. This will lead to the release of some 300 security prisoners and an addition 700 prisoners. Hani Dari was expected to be among those prisoners. 

The bill was introduced after the High Court of Justice ruled that the incarceration conditions infringed on prisoners’ human rights, and instructed the state to ensure that each prisoner had living space of 3 square meters.