Ringleader of Israeli gang that burned Palestinian child to death sentenced to life in prison

05 May
6:29 AM

A right-wing Israeli man who kidnapped a Palestinian child and burned him to death in Jerusalem in 2014 has been sentenced by an Israeli court to life in prison, plus 20 years, according to Israeli sources.

Yosef Chaim Ben-David was found guilty earlier this month, after having initially attempted to place the blame for the murder on two minors who were also arrested for the crime.

Ben-David also faked mental illness in an attempt to avoid prison time, but was found to be mentally sound by multiple psychological examinations.

According to the prosecutor in the case, Ben-David never expressed remorse for the brutal murder of the teenage boy. During the sentencing, however, he said, “I ask forgiveness of the family for all that happened.”

The prosecution also argued that Ben-David pressured the two minors to participate in the kidnapping and murder of Mohammad Abu Khdeir in July 2014.

The two minors involved in the murder were also charged with murder, one was sentenced to life in prison while the other was sentenced to 21 years in prison.

Initially six people were arrested for involvement in the murder, but three were later released.

Legal experts have pointed out that for Israeli Jews sentenced in Israeli courts, life in prison rarely means that the perpetrators spend their entire lives in prison. They are often released on parole or work-release after less than a decade.

Even Israelis who commit crimes in other countries, like Samuel Sheinbein, who brutally murdered a young person in Maryland before fleeing to Israel in the 1990s, are allowed to leave prison freely after serving some time.

Sheinbein was killed last year after attacking and killing a prison guard during a work release.

The murder of Mohammad Abu Khdeir sparked worldwide condemnation and protests throughout Jerusalem that lasted for months.

16-year-old Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir was abducted from outside his home, in the Shu’fat district of occupied East Jerusalem, by a group of Israelis who forced him into a car and sped off.

The teen’s burned body was found hours later in a vacant lot in another part of the city, in a forest that now stands in the ruins of the village of Deir Yassin, in which Israeli forces committed a massacre of 128 Palestinian civilians in 1948, during the creation of the state of Israel.

The Israeli government was censured by international bodies for singling out for arrest the relations of Muhammad Abu Khdeir in the weeks and months following the child’s murder.

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Celine Hagbard

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