The Military Court of Appeals decided to aggravate the sentence of a navy soldier convicted of steeling a weapon from his comrade. The soldier was initially sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison, but the appeals court doubled his sentence to five years following comments the soldier made to a police agent in prison, stating that he tried to sell the weapon to criminal Zeev Rosenstein.
In the summer of 2008, the soldier stole an M-16 rifle from his comrade. The soldier initially denied the charges against him, and only later confessed to a military police agent in prison that he sold the weapon for NIS 12,000 ($3,244) and only received a quarter of the sum in the first phase of the deal.
The soldier also bragged that his customer was an associate of Rosenstein.
The navy's court marshal only convicted the soldier of weapons theft, and not attempted arms trade, due to the fact that during the trial, the soldier's mother appeared in court and returned the weapon to the IDF.
The mother said she uncovered the weapon as she was cleaning the house ahead of Passover. As she was cleaning, a bag fell to the floor, with the weapon, dismantled in two parts, inside of it.
The judges decided to sentence the soldier to 30 months in prison.
The Military Prosecution decided to appeal the verdict, and argued that the soldier's comments to the police agent in prison show that there was an attempt to trade in arms.
The prosecution argued that the soldier's sentence should be aggravated, since such offences pose a threat to the public's security.
The appeals court judges ruled that an attempt to sell the weapon was made, and had the soldier not been caught, the weapon would most likely not have been returned to the military.
Therefore, the court decided to aggravate his sentence to five years imprisonment.
"Anyone who dares lay a hand on military weapons with plans to sell it should know that if he is caught and convicted a sentence of five long years in prison await him," the judges stated.