A military court sentenced on Thursday Palestinian security officer Bassam Shafik Atiya Ahtiya to life in prison plus 10 years for his involvement in the June 2006 kidnapping and murder of 18-year-old Eliyahu Asheri from the Jewish settlement of Itamar.
"He who can take another's life in cold blood is not worthy of walking freely among people in a civilized society," the judges said in their ruling. "Eliyahu Asheri's only 'sin' was that he was Jewish…In his act the accused ended the life of a young boy who had his entire future ahead of him, without any remorse or scruples. The defendant is not worthy of any mercy."
During the hearing Ahtiya's attorney denied the allegations and said his client was innocent.
Ahtiya, a former Palestinian Authority police officer from the West Bank city of Ramallah, was recruited to the Salah al-Din Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), a short time before Asheri's abduction. He kidnapped the settler teen with the help of two other Palestinian security officers.
'Treacherous regime in West Bank'
Asher's body was uncovered a few days after the kidnapping in a grove in Ramallah's Tira neighborhood, and the three terrorists were apprehended by IDF forces at a Palestinian police station after they had hid for several days at the Muqata complex, where Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' offices are located.
In July 2006 a military court sentenced Ayham Kamamji, another terrorist involved in Asheri's murder, to two consecutive life sentences.
PRC spokesman Abu Abir told Ynet following Ahtiya's sentencing, "The punishment will not prevent the Palestinian organizations from continuing to try and kidnap soldiers.
"The cooperation (with Israel) of the treacherous regime in the West Bank will not thwart our plans to carry out a wave of acts of resistance and attacks in the West Bank," he said. "We will make the Israelis regret not including the West Bank in the ceasefire agreement."