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Soldier exonerated from all guilt

Thursday, July 27, 2017, 12:44 An IDF soldier from the Shomron who was suspected of divulging information about IDF operations against communities in Yehuda and Shomron has been exonerated from all guilt. The soldier completed his army service, during which he was dismissed from an officers’ course following the incident. Honenu Attorney Avichai Hajbi: “This unfortunate incident came about solely because of the community to which the cadet belongs.” The military court has partially lifted the gag order on the case, which began 18 months ago, of an IDF soldier and Shomron resident who had been suspected of divulging confidential information about IDF operations against communities in Yehuda and Shomron to his friends during his army service. The soldier, Avraham (not his real name), who was dismissed from an officers’ course, has been exonerated from all guilt. A gag order on the name and personal details of the soldier remains in effect. Avraham began his army service in the tank corps as a combat soldier and advanced to an officers’ course. During the course, when his company left Training Camp 1 to defend the community of Shavei Shomron, Avraham was suddenly detained by the military police due to a suspicion that he had divulged confidential military information to his friends in the Shomron. Avraham’s interrogators insisted to him that a message had been sent from his cell phone which informed his friends about a likely evacuation of a community in the area and claimed that the message thwarted the scheduled operation. At the military court deliberations he was told that he is suspected of espionage and divulging confidential information. Avraham strongly denied that he had sent the message and requested that his interrogators inform him of exactly when he supposedly divulged information to his friends so that he would be able to respond. The interrogators refused, claiming that they could not reveal such details. After 11 days of remand in Prison 4, during which time he was absent from the officers’ course, Avraham was released and returned to Training Camp 1. Everything continued “business as usual” and his detention was not mentioned. However two weeks later Avraham was brought before a committee to decide whether or not he was fit to continue the officers’ course in light of the days that he had missed. Avraham’s claims concerning his status reached the regiment commander who decided to thoroughly examine the investigation. The regiment commander decided of his own accord that Avraham had involved himself with the matter about which he was investigated and decided to dismiss him from the officers’ course. The matter subsequently reached the commander of Training Camp 1, who canceled the dismissal, but also blocked Avraham from being promoted in rank, which effectively dismissed him from the officers’ course. Avraham was returned to the brigade in which he had been serving and received with a mark of disgrace. He was given rear guard tasks and did not serve as a combat soldier. The crimial case against him was closed and he was told that he would be tried at a disciplinary trial. After he completed his IDF service Avraham was summoned to a disciplinary trial. He recently appeared before the division commander under whom he had served and repeated his unequivocal statement that he had not sent the message and had not divulged any confidential information to anyone. The division commander, an officer with the rank of brigadier-general, decided to exonerate him from all guilt. In his verdict he stated that the penalty which Avraham had already received, the 11 days in prison and dismissal from the officers’ course, were disproporitional, and that he was impressed by his sincere desire to serve in the reserves and to encourage others to serve in the IDF. Honenu Attorney Avichai Hajbi, who represented Avraham throughout the proceedings: “At the beginning of the case the representatives of the military prosecution formally stated that the charge was espionage. The cadet was detained for 11 days in military prison and in the end was exonerated from all guilt. We have witnessed an unfortunate incident which came about solely because the cadet was suspected and detained without a thorough examination prior to detention due to the community to which he belongs.”

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