The Central Command's military court has sentenced an Israel Defense Forces soldiers to five months in prison for posing next to a bound Palestinian. The photos were found in the soldier's cell phone after he was arrested on suspicion of committing drug offenses.
Corporal S., a former fighter in the Netzah Yehuda Battalion, was photographed with the detainee during his military service in the Jenin area in January. He also used his cell phone to take pictures of two of his friends committing similar acts.
The affair was exposed last summer when the soldier was arrested in a separate affair. Military Police investigators found the photos and arrested the other two soldiers.
Legal proceedings against the other two soldiers are ongoing.
Incriminating photos. Loaded and cocked weapon
The soldiers were indicted for abuse, illegal use of weapons and improper behavior. According to the indictment, one of the soldiers held a blindfolded and bound Palestinian together with other troops.
"He posed for a picture with him while pointing a loaded and cocked weapon at the upper part of his body. There was no point in directing the weapon at the detainee during the shot," the indictment said.
The Palestinian seen in the pictures was located, and claimed in his testimony that he was not offended by the soldiers' behavior.
Corporal S. told the court that he did not intend to hurt the detainee's feelings and did not take the photos in a bid to distribute them. He said he realized, after the event, that his actions were inappropriate.
The soldier was convicted of abuse and improper behavior. The prosecution demanded that he be sentenced to six months in prison in order to stress the severity of his actions. The judges ruled that he would be jailed for five months, but have yet to explain the decision.
Soldiers in court (Photo: Yoav Zitun)
Ynet reported recently that the military advocate general said during the suspects' remand hearing that in weighing in on the arrest one should take into account the "moral blockade" Israel is under, and noted that "the severity of acts is tested within the context of our reality."
The military defender's office was outraged at the suggestions claiming that the soldiers do no belong in jail and that there are no grounds for an indictment.
Photos of ex-soldier Eden Abergil posing next to Palestinian detainees and the international response to the publication have caused the Israel Defense Forces to be extra-sensitive in handling acts which may prompt angry international response.
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