Barkan terror attack case updates
Rafi Levengrond; Photo credit: Yonatan Zindel Flash 90
Monday, December 9, 2019, 12:22 On Sunday, December 8, a deliberation took place on the appeal filed by Abdallah Fouad Mustafa Mahmoud, one of the abettors of the Barkan terrorist, who assisted the terrorist as he fled the authorities. Mahmoud was convicted of providing shelter and disrupting legal proceedings and sentenced to a 20-month active prison term, an 18-month suspended sentence and a 3,000 NIS fine was imposed on him. Mahmoud filed an appeal with the Ofer Military Court of Appeals on the severity of his sentence. At a deliberation in the case of the abettor, Mahmoud, his attorney pleaded that the penalty should be reduced, being as the assistance he provided to the terrorist “was not so vital to his escape”. The Military Advocate General demanded that the appeal be rejected, and added that “Recently this court asserted the need to be stringent with those who carried out acts similar to those of the petitioner and abetted despicable murderers. We demand that the court send a clear and unequivocal message in the verdict that the acts of the petitioner are worthy of censure and denunciation, and that anyone who abets murderers and provides them with shelter will be severely penalized.” Rafi Levengrond, Kim Levengrond-Yehezkel’s father, was present at the deliberation. He told the judge that the prosecution should have filed an appeal on the leniency of the abettor’s sentence: “The penalty is not commensurate with the acts the man did. Thanks to his abettors he [the terrorist] escaped the IDF for 70 days.” Levengrond spoke about the need for stringent prosecution of terrorists and their abettors: “If the penalties they are given are not a strong deterrence, then after the next attack they will escape. … I think that the maximum penalty should be increased so that other people will see that it is not worthwhile to assist [a terrorist], and then maybe he will be apprehended.” And concluded with a request from the court: “I ask the court to not settle for twenty months, because that is a truly ludicrous penalty.” Honenu Attorney Chaim Bleicher, who is assisting the families as victims of terror, stated: “It is obvious to any thinking person that this is the minimum penalty for someone who cooperated with a terrorist. It is clear to us that [the court] should not be lenient with the penalty for the terrorist. We expect the appellate court to reject the appeal by the abettor and to state its piece about the war on terror. Additionally, we commend the prosecution for filing an appeal on the leniency of the penalty imposed on the terrorist’s mother. We hope that the appellate court will do justice and send the convicted mother of the terrorist to prison for many years, and thus send an important message of deterrence that will save the lives of Israelis.” Mahmoud abetted Ashraf Walid Suleiman Na’alwa, the murderer of Kim Levengrond-Yehezkel, Hy”d, and Ziv Hajbi, Hy”d by providing him shelter. Mahmoud encountered Na’alwa in a mosque in Shechem and suggested that he sleep in the mosque. At the time Mahmoud was not aware that Na’alwa was the Barkan terrorist. However, even after Mahmoud discovered the identity of his guest he continued to offer him shelter. Mahmoud also allowed Na’alwa to use his cell phone, which had Internet access, and took a letter for the terrorist’s sister, who lives in Shechem, in a book. Additionally, in order to prevent seizure by security forces of documentation of the terrorist’s presence in the mosque, Mahmoud asked someone to erase recordings from the mosque’s security cameras. The Military Court Judge noted in the sentence that “The defendant abetted a fleeing murderer immediately after he carried out two despicable and cruel murders. It is impossible to ignore the fact that the assistance was not momentary and not limited to one instance. … The defendant knew that Na’alwa had murdered two Israelis and despite that did not find it correct to cease the assistance he was providing. He also knew that the murderer was armed, and therefore it was obvious that he still posed a danger.” However, the judge noted that Mahmoud initially did not know that his guest was the Barkan terrorist and that his actions “were not the most serious degree of the crime of sheltering [a criminal].” Mahmoud filed an appeal on the severity of the penalty, to which the court is expected to give a decision shortly. Recently, the Military Advocate General informed the families of Kim Levengrond-Yehezkel and Ziv Hajbi that they had filed an appeal on the leniency of the sentence handed down to the Barkan terrorist’s mother, Wafa Na’alwa, who did not take reasonable actions to prevent the attack, despite knowing her son’s intentions. She was sentenced to an 18-month active prison term, also a 5,000 NIS fine was imposed on her and payment of 40,000 NIS compensation to the victim’s families. On July 17, the Military Court in Salem convicted the Barkan terrorist’s brother, Amjad Walid Suleiman Na’alwa, of failure to prevent possession of a weapon by his brother and of disrupting legal proceedings. Three weeks later the court handed down a sentence of a one-year active prison term and a suspended sentence of an additional year. The sentence was increased to a two-year active prison term and a suspended sentence of two years, and also a 70,000 NIS fine was imposed on Amjad by the Ofer Military Court of Appeals on September 16.