Terrorist given light sentence in plea bargain

Sunday, December 22, 2019, 10:14 Yazid Hassin Awad Saruji, who was charged with attempted murder for throwing an explosive charge at a youth in the Shomron, will serve only eight years’ imprisonment following a plea bargain with the Military Advocate General. One of the terrorist’s claims of defense was that the charge had not exploded. The terrorist hurled an explosive charge at a 15-year-old youth standing at the Jit Intersection on July 8, 2018 and admitted to the crime of attempting to cause death. The prosecution explained the lenient penalty: “In the framework of the plea bargain the confession of the defendant and the fact that the youth was not injured as a result of throwing the charge were taken into account.” The bill of indictment filed by the office of the Attorney General charges Saruji with manufacturing an explosive object after deciding to cause the deaths of Jews and also with three attempts to intentionally cause death. The first two attempts by the terrorist to throw the explosive charges were planned, but not carried out, being as the terrorist feared the security forces who were present in the area. On July 8, 2018, Saruji went out on his third attempt “with the goal of throwing the charges at Jewish settlers. However the settlers whom he noticed were either traveling in vehicles or were being escorted by security forces. Therefore he continued in the direction of Yitzhar and the Jit Intersection. There the defendant noticed someone with long payot wearing a kippah and identified him as a Jewish settler.” The Jewish settler whom the terrorist identified was a minor, a 15-year-old youth standing at the Jit Intersection. The terrorist drove around the intersection four times in order to verify that there were no security forces in the area. Then he drove slowly towards the youth “pulled out a pipe bomb, which contained nails and knife blades, from among the explosive charges he had manufactured, lit the bomb, and from a distance of four meters, hurled it at the youth with the goal of causing his death.” The terrorist fled the scene, and the bomb he had lit did not explode, but rather fell apart and the pieces, including the nails and the knife blades, scattered near the youth. The terrorist was apprehended by security forces who found the two remaining explosive charges in his car. In the plea bargain with the Military Advocate General the terrorist admitted to only one attempt to cause death, and a sentence of only eight years’ imprisonment was imposed on him. Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher, who is representing the youth as a victim of terror, leveled sharp criticism at the Military Advocate General: “This was an attempt to murder a 15-year-old youth with an explosive device, following several attempts by the terrorist to murder soldiers with explosive charges he had manufactured. It is unthinkable that the terrorist will be released to continue his acts within a few years. We demand the cancellation of the plea bargain, the sentencing of the terrorist to dozens of years’ imprisonment, as the law instructs, and the awarding of increased compensation to the victim.” The father of the youth also opposed the terms of the plea bargain: “The fact that [my son] was spared is not a reason for giving the terrorist a lenient penalty. Eight years is nothing. What will bring back a sense of security is the knowledge that whoever wants to harm us will receive a commensurate penalty, especially if it was not the terrorist’s first attempt to cause death.”

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