Military Police are holding a criminal investigation against a soldier suspected of recording Palestinians in humiliating situations, Ynet learned Monday.
The soldier, Staff-Sergeant R, is a former combat soldier who serves in one of the IDF's infantry units. Captain Bella Gacht, who represents the prosecution, says three photographs were found on his cellular phone from last February depicting R. holding a rifle to the head of a blindfolded and bound Palestinian.
In another picture, Gacht says, R. is seen aiming a kick at the man's head, and in another photo he is making an indecent gesture towards him.
Two video recordings were also found on the soldier's phone, she claims, which were recorded last year. In one of the videos "Palestinian children are seen raising their hands and placing them on their heads at someone's orders". The orders were given in the form of a popular Israeli children's song.
In another video, Gacht continues, a Palestinian boy is seen carrying a gas container on his back, and a voice is heard calling him over and asking him questions, such as if the container is heavy. "All of this takes a few minutes," she says. It was unclear whether the speaker was the soldier or not.
Captain Gacht says the IDF views the crimes as "very serious" and that the soldier is being investigated for abuse, misuse of power and unlawful use of a weapon.
The prosecution demanded that R. be kept in jail, but his attorney succeeded in convincing the military court to allow him to stay in detention at his unit's headquarters. He claims his client had nothing to do with the videos, but that he did take the pictures and regretted doing so.
The judge, Lieutenant-Colonel Roni Pinhas, called the video depicting the children performing movements of a popular children's song "degrading and arbitrary behaviour towards children".
He added that the videos "harm the army's image, values, and principles", but on the other hand mentioned the soldier's good record and inability to disrupt the investigation, the reasons for which he decided not to keep him detained.
An indictment against R. is forthcoming. Military Police say they have succeeded in finding the Palestinian man shown in the photos and that they would soon question him, but that the children in the videos have not yet been found.
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