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Soldier sentenced to seven months in prison

Thursday, February 11, 2016, 12:14 On Wednesday, February 10 a Nahal Hareidi Netzah Yehuda soldier convicted of two instances of hitting detained terrorists on the Hermesh Base on which his regiment was staying several months ago, was demoted to the rank of private and sentenced to seven months of active prison sentence and a six month suspended sentence. For more on the case please see here. Judges Lieutenant Colonel Akhsan Halabi, Major Eldad Amril and Captain Michael Ben Shimol convicted the soldier of abuse and aggravated abuse. The judges wrote in the verdict that there is a need to deter other soldiers from carrying out similar acts, especially in light of the repetition of the incidents of injuring detained terrorists, by the Netzah Yehuda regiment. “The need for deterrence in a situation such as the one in question is self evident, and the message needs to be clear and explicit,” wrote the judges as justification for the severe penalty they placed on the soldier. During the course of the trial, the soldier’s defense attorney, Honenu Attorney Adi Kedar, brought about the correction of the original indictment, which attributed four incidents of assaulting terrorists to the soldier. In the end the soldier was convicted of only two incidents. Additionally testimonies were given in support of the soldier and his commander testified that, “This is the best soldier there is. A soldier on whom one can rely, with a good head on his shoulders, even during busy periods and operational activity, which are stressful and difficult situations.” Rabbi Yitzhak Bar Haim, one of the founders of the Nahal Hareidi, testified as to his connections to the soldier, whom he described as a “righteous man” and said that the act attributed to him is not characteristic of him. The Rabbi is certain that the act stemmed from the stressful and difficult circumstances at the time. Rabbi Bar Haim said that the very fact that the soldier enlisted against the norm of the hareidi community in which he grew up, is a “courageous step”, and requested that the judges understand that the severe verdict would be used by the hareidi community which opposes military service, and also requested that the judges think of how the hareidi families who do send their children to the army will react to the matter. “The parents [of the hareidi families whose children do enlist] are heroes. Look at them. They comprise a community that does send their children to enlist in the army. Now they won’t send their children either?” said Rabbi Bar Haim.” Despite that, the representatives of the prosecution, Captain Avishai Kaplan and Captain Bar Sivan, demanded that a significant penalty be placed on the soldier and requested that the penalty for each of the incidents be cumulative and as severe as possible. In the end the soldier was given a seven-month active jail sentence. Honenu Attorney Adi Kedar, who represented the soldier, accuses the Military Advocate General of being cut off from the combat soldiers: “The verdict given in the soldier’s case expresses a trend of increased stringency in the military courts and a complete disconnection of the courts and the Military Advocate General in matters of operations in the field itself, and the difficult reality with which the soldiers constantly cope during their operations.”

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