The military court in Jaffa cleared for publication on Tuesday a video showing Israeli soldiers hitting two Palestinian prisoners in the head after their arrest in the West Bank in January.
Four of the five soldiers documented, all from the Netzah Yehuda infantry battalion, were convicted of aggravated abuse on Sunday and are expected to serve a six-month prison term. The fifth soldier, whose part in the incident has been dubbed "relatively minor," was convicted of abuse and sentenced to two monhts in prison.
The video, filmed by another soldier, shows soldiers landing blows on the heads of two bound Palestinian prisoners with covered eyes. The soldiers can be heard saying "it's your party," and "say hello."
The faces of both the soldiers and the prisoners are pixelated in the version of the video made public.
According to the indictments filed against the soldiers in January, the Palestinians, a father and son, were detained on January 8 on suspicion of aiding a Palestinian who committed a shooting attack at the intersection near the West Bank outpost of Givat Assaf a month earlier. It turned out that the pair had not been directly involved in planning or carrying out the attack in which two soldiers from the Netzah Yehuda battalion, who were friends of the defendants, were killed.
Netzah Yehuda is an all-male ultra-Orthodox unit of the Israel Defense Forces that allows soldiers to serve in the army while strictly observing religious customs. It is part of the Kfir infantry brigade.
After the arrest of the father and son, on their way to the army base near the settlement of Beit El, the soldiers punched and kicked the two, who were handcuffed and blindfolded, and hit them with their weapons, causing serious injuries.
One detainee’s injuries were so severe that investigators could not question him immediately following the incident. The two Palestinians were taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, where one of them remained in hospital for three days.
The soldiers’ commander, a lieutenant, was also indicted last month for not preventing the violence. The officer was charged with failure to prevent a crime, negligently causing injury and conduct unbecoming an officer.
”The commander noticed his soldiers enacting harsh violence against the Palestinian detainees, while they were handcuffed and blindfolded, and despite this did not prevent them from continuing to beat them,” said the indictment. The officer was suspended from his duties as a result of the incident.
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