Six months after the conviction in the Naalian shooting affair, the prosecution has motioned to demote former battalion commander Lieutenant-Colonel Omri Borberg, which would effectively end his military career. As for the soldier, Staff Sgt. Leonardo Corea, the prosecution has motioned to demote him to private.
During the hearing, Borberg broke out in tears. He addressed the judges and said: "I made a mistake, let me go back to fight alongside my soldiers." Addressing Corea he said: "Leonardo, I take full responsibility, I'm sorry for what happened."
In 2008, Ashraf Abu Rahma was shot while handcuffed in a protest in Naalin. The judges ruled that Borberg "unlawfully compromised Abu Rahma's life while the victim posed no threat." They stressed this gravely offended basic values and compromised the IDF's image.
Borberg was convicted of attempted threat while Corea was convicted of unlawful use of weapons. The two were also convicted of conduct unbecoming.
The prosecution explained that despite the relatively benign outcomes the two soldiers gravely compromised the IDF's image in Israel and the rest of the world and their conduct bears a moral blemish. "The penalization standard in cases of force being used against civilians, detainees, prisoners and others should be extremely high in order for it to be internalized in the entire military system."
The prosecutors also explained that both Borberg and Corea failed in a way which is hard to justify. "Despite the fact this is one of the most gifted officers in the IDF, he acted foolishly, thoughtlessly and in a sort of mischievous manner by threatening the victim with his weapon."
The prosecution also motioned to impose prison sentences which can be converted to various military tasks.
Borberg in court. "Foolish, thoughtless behavior" (Photo: Dudu Azoulay)
Borberg's attorney stressed there was not desire to "hurt or humiliate but an attempt to reach a legitimate goal. My client reported the truth and truth alone after the act, long before the matter was publicized.
Omri is not responsible for Israel's image and therefore the image consideration has no bearing on the punishment."
At the end of the hearing Borberg addressed the court again. "It's hard for me to hear the army wants to throw me in prison and then throw me out of the army. I deeply regret this whole event. I am responsible for everything that happened. My report states that."
Last November, Central Command Chief Avi Mizrahi and Northern Command Chief Gadi Eisenkot testified on Borberg's behalf.
They are slated to try and convince the judges to mitigate his sentence in a way which will allow him to move up the ranks in the IDF.
"The steps we took after the (Naalin) event should have been sufficient. We have internalized what was wrong over the last few years and he was severely punished," Mizrahi told the judges. He noted than any additional punishment would be disproportional to the crime.
Hanan Greenberg contributed to this report
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