Cop Gets Community Service for Shooting Kafr Qasem Resident

Court rules Haim Castro didn't act in self defense when he shot Salah Amar, permanently disabling him.

A Tel Aviv Court on Sunday sentenced a Border Policeman who shot and paralyzed a Kafr Qasem resident to six months of community service and a one-year suspended prison term.

In 2003, Haim Castro shot Salah Amar from a distance of a half a meter, claiming that his life was in danger and he acted in self defense. The court dismissed this claim and ruled there was no threat to Castro's life.

Since the shooting, Amar has been listed as 100 percent disabled.

Although 20 Israeli citizens have been killed by security forces since the outbreak of the Second Intifada in September 2000, Castro is the first person to be convicted of shooting an Israeli citizen.

Castro was serving at the time as a driver in a Border Police jeep in Kafr Qasem. During a patrol of the city in 2003, members of Castro's unit became involved in a scuffle with local residents. The policemen arrested one of the residents, and when his father, Salah, tried to pull the suspect from the jeep, Castro shot him in his lower body, paralyzing him.

Presiding Judge Khaled Kabub stated that "law enforcement officers, including Border Policemen, must practice restraint when they come into contact with the civilian population." Kabub added that Castro's case illustrates the need for stiffer penalties in instances where civilians are wrongfully harmed by security personnel.