The Jaffa Military Court on Tuesday sentenced three fighters of the Haruv Battalion to five and a half months in prison after convicting them of abusing two Palestinian detainees about four months ago.
The judges also ruled that despite a plea bargain, which stated that the three would be demoted from staff sergeants to privates, they would only be demoted to the rank of sergeant.
According to the judges, demoting the soldiers to the rank of private would be a heavy punishment, and in light of their service in the territories, they should maintain a commanding rank.
The three were convicted of attacking two 17-year-old Palestinians while watching over them at their base in the settlement of Shavei Shomron. They beat them while they were handcuffed and they eyes were covered, cursed them, forced them to say words in Hebrew, and at one point even attached a heat conductor to one of the youths' face.
The investigation into the affair, first reported by Ynet, began following a complaint filed by a female soldier from the battalion. The three fighters trued to convince the soldier not to report of what she saw, but she eventually gave her commanders the full version.
The court was presented with statements from the troops' commanders, who detailed the three soldiers' activity throughout their military service. The judges noted that the punishment suggested in the plea bargain properly reflected the severity of the act the aim to deter other soldiers from committing similar acts.
"The humiliation of helpless minors… is an ugly act which badly harms not only the immediate victims of the offense, but the army's moral strength as well," the judges states, noting that although the acts of violence were not severe, the incident included the humiliation of the youths and attempts to dissuade a soldier from delivering a true testimony.
However, despite the agreement between the Military Prosecution and the defense attorney to demote the soldiers, the judges ruled that "such a heavy punishment does not reflect the many rights accumulated by the three during their service."