Undocumented Gazan Gets Life in Israeli Prison for Murder of Kidnapped Teen

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Wisam Abu al-Hasna on the day the indictment was filed, last year.
Wisam Abu al-Hasna on the day the indictment was filed, last year.Credit: Rami Shllush

A 44-year-old Gaza resident was sentenced to life in prison plus five years for the kidnapping and murder of 17-year-old Adel Khatib of Shfaram in December 2019. According to the indictment, Wisam Abu al-Hasna, who worked with Khatib in construction, abducted him and demanded a ransom of 400,000 shekels ($122,745) from his family. When he was unable to find a place to hide Khatib, he stabbed him to death and buried him. In addition to his conviction for kidnapping and murder under aggravated circumstances, Abu al-Hasna was also convicted of entering Israel illegally.

According to the indictment, served in February 2020, Abu al-Hasna made contact with Khatib a few days before the abduction and told him he wanted to give him something. On the day of the murder, December 5, 2019, he obtained a knife and a hoe, which he hid near where he planned to murder the teen. He then asked Khatib to come to the neighborhood of Ein Afia in Shfaram in the western Galilee mountains. The pair met and walked together to an isolated area, where Abu al-Hasna murdered Khatib by stabbing him 21 times. He then buried the body.

The indictment goes on to say that Abu al-Hasna then put a letter in Arabic on the windshield of a car near Khatib’s home, in which he wrote that the teen was in a safe place and demanded 400,000 shekels within five days to release him. He said that if the police were called, he would stab Khatib.

Adel Khatib.Credit: Israel Police

During his interrogation, Abu al-Hasna said that he murdered Khatib because he could not find a place to hide him. He said he had been living in Shfaram for a few years prior to the murder under the name of a resident of the Galilee town of Eilabun, after entering Israel in 2015 for medical care. During his trial, Abu al-Hasna expressed regret for his actions.

In their verdict, Haifa District Court judges Avi Levy, Eran Kotton, Avi Levy and Eyal Baumgarten wrote: “The accused made a decision to kidnap the victim, kill him and demand ransom for his release… While the victim had his back turned to the accused, the latter stabbed him in the back. The victim was surprised but managed to turn toward the accused and ask ‘why do this,’ before falling on the ground on his back.”

Abu al-Hasna was sentenced to a minimum of 25 years in prison for the kidnapping and murder plus five years. The prosecution said that the murder “revealed human evil in the planning ahead by the accused who stabbed the victim 21 times. The family of the victim suffered severe emotional and psychological damage, with mere greed the reason for the action of the accused.”

Fatma Khatib, Adel's mother, in court last year.Credit: Rami Shllush

Khatib  had worked with his grandfather as a plasterer. “He was full of the joy of life and he wanted to get ahead in business,” Khatib’s grandfather, Nabil Khatib, told Haaretz. Another Shfaram resident, Said Khatib, said he had gotten to know the victim when he was a volunteer for a program to stamp out violence. “He was a member of a group of teens that held workshops...to root out violence, and he took part in projects for tolerance and brotherhood. In the end he was murdered so cruelly.

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