Life imprisonment plus 20 years is the sentence imposed Monday afternoon on the terrorist Khaled Kutina, who was indicted for the murder of Shalom Sharki, and the attempted murder of Shira Klein in the April 2015 car-ramming attack in Jerusalem's French Hill. The Jerusalem District Court also imposed a payment of 258,000 shekels as restitution for Sharki's parents.
Judges Yoram Noam, Rivka Friedman-Feldman and Moshe Bar'am stated in the verdict that "the murderous terror attack executed by the defendant, which was meant to sow death and destruction in the lives of innocent people simply for the fact of being Jewish, is a diabolical act that dehumanizes its committer.
"The murderous, vicious and heinous act committed by the defendant necessitates the imposition of accumulating sentences. The consecutive sentences are doubly required when the case is of such a heinous terror attack whose sole purpose is to cause the death of innocent civilians. In terror attacks in particular, which ruthlessly and indiscriminately seek to harm innocents, it is incumbent on the court to repay the assassins… This approach is necessary in order to provide proper expression to the sanctity of life."
Kutina, a 39-year-old resident of Anata, changed his story versions throughout the procedure. During his initial interrogations, he claimed he had been taking medications and wanted to die; afterwards, he said he executed the attack as revenge against the Jews responsible for the blockades, and finally, he claimed that he cannot be indicted for murder since the prosecution failed to prove his intention to kill the two. The district psychiatrist determined that Kutina was mentally competent to stand trial.
Jenny Avni from the Jerusalem District Prosecutor's Office said after the verdict: "We thought that the gravity of the murderous terror attack lies not only in the tragic outcomes of the event, but also in those few minutes during which the defendant drove down the highway looking for potential victims. The verdict expresses the incessant struggle of law enforcement authorities with terror attacks."
Sharki, who was 25 when he died, studied in at the Hesder Yerucham Yeshiva and worked as a tour guide in Bnei Zvi pre-yeshiva high school. He served as a combatant in the Navy, and in his last years was studying in Herzog College and worked as a tour guide for The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel.
After the verdict Shrki's father, Rabbi Uri Sherki, said that "we will do as much as we can for justice. From then on, it's up to heaven's judgment. I hope they won't shorten his sentence and release him in the future. This is not out of vengeance; he will commit another terrorism act if he is gets out."
Before the verdict, Shrki's father said, "We hope justice will be made, if only for the wave of terror attacks that started following this murder. There is a sense that the sanctity of Jewish lives has lessened. The assault on my son and Shira happened solely because they were Jews, in the name of an Islamic agenda, and it is the duty of a proper civil society to protect itself.
"My son Shalom was an antithesis of the terrorist. He was a good, kind person...We found, among his belongings, a page on which he had written, 'I choose to live out of happiness', and we hung it up on the living room wall, replacing his picture, as his will.
"We request that the terrorist's punishment will be as severe as the law permits, that his sentence will not be shortened, and that he will not be pardoned. Lately the biblical verse has been forgotten and maybe it should be remembered: 'Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man.' We should not let this man endanger another."