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Only 17 years’ imprisonment for attempted murder

Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher; Photo credit: Honenu

Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher; Photo credit: Honenu

Tuesday, May 19, 2020, 16:24 On Monday, May 18, Judges Lieutenant Colonel Tzvi Heilbron, Lieutenant Colonel Itai Adar, and Major Lidor Drachman of the Military Court in Yehuda sentenced Udi A’ataf Mohamed Ta’amara, who stabbed Shahar Sevilla approximately three years ago, to only 17 years’ imprisonment. Additionally, the judges imposed a fine on the terrorist, and also compensation for the victim. The penalty is lenient in light of the fact that the crime for which Ta’amara was convicted, attempt to intentionally cause death, carries a penalty by law of 20-25 years’ imprisonment. Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher, who is representing Sevilla as a terror victim, announced his intention to request that the Military Advocate General appeal the sentence. The attack occurred near the Gush Etzion Junction. Shahar was walking towards Alon Shevut when he encountered Ta’amara, who exited a taxi at the intersection between the main highway and the entrance road to Efrat. Ta’amara also walked towards Alon Shevut. At the entrance to the Gush Etzion Winery, Ta’amara attacked Shahar with a knife, the blade of which was 18 centimeters long. Shahar defended himself with his pistol and after a struggle, during which Ta’amara stabbed him in the back, succeeded in holding Ta’amara until the security forces arrived. At the verdict reading, Ta’amara admitted that his intent had been “to encounter a settler and injure him in the arm,” and stated that, “I wanted to get to Hevron and I acted without thinking. I couldn’t control myself. It was during Ramadan. I was fasting. I was stressed out. Yes, I left my home with the intent of injuring someone in the arm. An injury, not to kill. A wound.” Additionally at the verdict reading, the judges noted that the terrorist did not express regret for his acts, even though he was given a number of opportunities to do so. According to the judges, Ta’amara was determined to carry out the attack and even though he noticed that Sevilla had a weapon, he was not deterred. The judges also noted that the terrorist caused Sevilla great injury and that their confrontation could have ended with a much more severe outcome. In the end Ta’amara admitted to the charges in the bill of indictment, including the charge of attempt to intentionally cause death, the equivalent in a military court to attempted murder. The bill of indictment specified Sevilla’s injuries, from which he suffers to this day. The terrorist was also convicted of illegal possession of a knife. Shahar Sevilla: “I am disappointed with and shocked by the lenient sentence given to the terrorist, who left his house in the middle of the night and walked many kilometers in order to murder Jews. Unfortunately the court looked only at what occurred, when it was completely obvious that the attack could have ended like the massacre of the Salomon family, which occurred three weeks later.” Sevilla described the attack: “The terrorist equipped himself with a large knife and was on his way to carry out a massacre in Alon Shevut. Near the entrance to Alon Shevut he encountered me, and thank G-d I prevented him him from carrying out his plot. In doing so I turned into the target for this murderer. In 14 years he will be released, after receiving honor, money, food, and access to a fitness room and television at the expense of the State of Israel. Unfortunately, because of their leniency, based on ridiculous reasoning, in judging a murderer who intended to carry out a massacre, the military courts have become a laughingstock, thereby giving support to the next acts of terror… “I absolutely expect the Military Advocate General to appeal the leniency of the penalty. The law allows sentencing terrorists who attempted to murder, up to 25 years [in prison], and the court must be stringent with them to the full extent of the law, so that others will see their example [and be deterred]. It does not make a difference whether the terrorist succeeds or not in carrying out his murderous plot. My sense on a difficult day such as this is that the court does not understand the severity of the matter. I feel as if I have been taken back to the hard battle I fought, with this murderous insanity.” Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher, who is representing Shahar as a terror victim, censured the lenient penalty and described the attack: “We were very shocked to receive the court ruling which gives a light penalty to the reprehensible terrorist for no logical or legal reason. The leniency of the penalty invites the next murder. This is a terrorist who was on his way to infiltrate a community, carry out an attack and murder as many Jews as he could at four o’clock in the morning on Shabbat. “Miraculously the terrorist encountered a hero, Shahar Sevilla, who worked as a security guard in the area and was on his way to the community [of Alon Shevut] to rest. The terrorist attempted with all his strength to murder Shahar, who wrestled with him bare-handed until he subdued him. As the judges noted, Israeli law determines that the penalty for attempted murder by a terrorist is 20-25 years’ imprisonment, and that is what the Military Advocate General demanded in the case. “How could the judges order the release of the terrorist within 17 years, at which time he will be 40 years of age, when they noted that a factor in the leniency is the young age of the terrorist, who was approximately 23 years old? The ruling favors the life of a terrorist, his return to the cycle of terror, and damage to the deterrence factor, over the lives of an Israeli citizen. We will request that the Military Advocate General continue the struggle and appeal the ruling, in hopes that the appellate court will seriously consider the lives of citizens and the need for deterrence in the war on terror.”

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