Israeli Soldier Gets Nine Months for Abusing, Electrocuting Palestinian Detainees

The soldier used a medical device to improperly deliver electric shocks to two Palestinian prisoners.

A soldier convicted of abusing a Palestinian prisoner, seen here in detention, November 2015.
David Bachar

A military court has sentenced a soldier to nine months in prison and demoted him to private after he was convicted of using a medical device to shock two Palestinian prisoners in the neck. In both cases the prisoners were handcuffed and blindfolded.

The soldier from the ultra-Orthodox Netzah Yeduda Batallion, whose name has only been released as R., was convicted on two counts of aggravated abuse. One judge recommended a seven-month sentence, but the majority ruled nine, starting from the day the soldier was arrested.

The prosecutors said R.’s actions damaged the army’s moral fiber. “There is no doubt the act was intended to humiliate,” one judge wrote, but no evidence was presented that the prisoners were harmed “in a concrete way,” he added.

The soldier told the court he “understood the severity of his actions and their implications, both for his military service and afterwards. I am sorry and embarrassed by these acts.”

This marks the end of legal proceedings against Netzah Yehuda soldiers in a number of abuse cases against Palestinian prisoners in recent months. All the soldiers charged were convicted. In a plea deal last week, another soldier from the battalion was sentenced to seven months in prison and demoted to private for abuse.

R.'s case involved a prisoner from the village of Safarin who was arrested in October and taken to the base where soldiers from the battalion served. The soldier attached the electrodes of a medical device, which is designed to deliver timpulses, to the prisoner’s neck and shocked him. The prisoner pleaded for R. to stop.

The soldier who was convicted and sentenced last week filmed the acts on his phone; laughter could be heard and R. was seen smiling. The other soldier later hit the prisoner. R. shocked a second prisoner a few days later.