The Tel Aviv District Court convicted former Border Guard officer Tomer Avraham of involuntary manslaughter Wednesday, for killing a Palestinian residing in Israel illegally, and of assaulting another Palestinian in a Jaffa construction site in October 2006.
Avraham's weapon unintentionally discharged and the bullet fired killed Eyad Abu Liya.
The incident occurred when Avraham and two other Border Guard officers went to investigate a construction site in Jaffa where illegal workers were known to reside. They found three Palestinians, including Abu Liya, at the site. They detained the men in a side room as they ran background checks on them.
The Border Guard officers beat the men with batons and sat them down with their backs against the wall.
Avraham, who was put in charge of watching over them, cocked his weapon at some point during the incident. Later, he pointed his weapon in the direction of Abu Liya and a bullet was discharged which struck and killed the Palestinian.
Judge Oded Mudrik ruled on Wednesday that although the death was caused by a bullet that was unintentionally discharged, because Avraham pointed his weapon without verifying whether it is was cocked or on safety, this constituted the taking of a grave risk and could not be construed as negligence.
Judge Mudrik also mentioned the fact that Avraham had violently abused the detained Palestinians before the shooting and also convicted him of assault.
Avraham's lawyer claimed that the killing was not a criminal act, but the judge rejected this claim and said that Avraham must have been aware of the risk of his actions in handling the weapon.
The prosecutor in the case, Moshe Sadeh, a lawyer from the Internal Investigations department, said following the conviction that "this is another one of those incidents which represent a warning sign that should make clear that the use of weapons, even at the hands of security forces, should only be done to the extent necessary.
"When incidents come to light that point to a deviation from the procedures of handling weapons – specifically when people get hurt – the Internal Investigations department will deal with these incidents with appropriate severity."