Israel Valas, an Orthodox man who was convicted four months ago of manslaughter over the death of his 3-month-old son, was sentenced by the Jerusalem District Court on Tuesday to six years in prison and two years suspended sentence.
Valas, 21, was arrested in April on 2006 on suspicion of abusing and subsequently killing his infant son Raphael. His arrest sparked mass protest by haredi youths, who rioted in the capital's streets, demanding his release.
The defense denied any wrongdoing on Valas' part, but according to doctors' testimony, the baby presented with severe signs cerebral edema, which could only have been caused by someone forcibly shaking him.
District Court Judge Hanna Ben-Ami noted in her ruling that Valas "has expressed no remorse for his actions whatsoever, since the beginning of the case. All he cares about is getting his life back together."
The crimes Valas has been charged with, she added, are some of the gravest noted in the penal code, but the court did see fit to exercise leniency: "We have to consider that this is a young man, who has never before been given any responsibilities besides learning the Torah.
"It is the court's belief that he did not intend to kill his son and that his actions stemmed from recklessness."
Knesset Member Meir Porush (United Torah Judaism), who recently lost to Nir Barkat in the Jerusalem mayoral elections, testified in court on Valas' behalf.
"The defendant is a good man, I can't say a bad word about him," said Porush, adding that he was "marked for great things" within the ultra-Orthodox community.
Porush told the court that he has been acquainted with Valas and his family for six years, and that Valas was one of the "finest yeshiva boys" he had ever encountered.