Court doubles the sentence of border agent for negligent murder of Palestinian

The Supreme Court accepted an appeal that the state had filed Sunday to double the prison sentence of 9 months issued in April to border police officer Ben Deri,
who was convicted of the negligent manslaughter of 17-year-old Nadim Nuwara
during Nakba Day clashes in
Beitunia four years ago.

The verdict came after two or three judges in the Supreme Court voted to double the sentence to 18 months, only four months after the court had ordered Deri to serve nine months behind the bars.

CCTV footage of incident (בצלם)

In April, the Jerusalem District Court granted Deri another six-month suspended sentence and ordered him to pay the Palestinian teenage NIS 50,000 as compensation.

Prosecutors had initially filed a full indictment for manslaughter against Deri and accused him of deliberately replacing his rubber bullets for the live round. The altered indictment agreed by Deri and approved by the court of Jerusalem as part of a plea deal described the conversion as accidental.

The incident was recorded on camera and the video was distributed around the world.

"A soldier or policeman who is in a combat situation can make mistakes and his actions must be investigated against the background of the complex situation," wrote Justice Noam Sohlberg, who drafted the statement behind the majority decision.

 (Photo: AFP)

(Photo: AFP)

"The pistol given to Deri to save lives was used – because of malicious intentions against the victim and serious negligence that accompanied it – to shed blood, which Deri failed in this test and he must be held responsible," wrote the judge.

Sohlberg also criticized the original sentence given to Deri. "At the end of the day, in the general equilibrium, the sentence did not give the correct expression to the value of human life undermined by Deri, nor to considerations based on the obligation to adhere to the principle of purity of weapons, "he said.

"Deri's double negligence by the fact that he did not make the magazine contain empty cartridges and did not load a rubber bullet into his gun is serious, but what is even more serious is Deri's plan to damage the victim. if he did not pose a threat to the armed forces and the result was death, "continued Sohlberg.

The sentence imposed on Deri, Sohlberg emphasized, was "not in the neighborhood of the seriousness of a deliberate act like this, which reflects the serious negligence that caused the death of the deceased.

Justice Noam Sohlberg (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)

Justice Noam Sohlberg (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)

"There is a huge responsibility for a soldier and a policeman who carries a weapon, a" trigger happy finger ", nor a heavy hand (is acceptable), a responsible hand must be in motion and a distinction must be made. be made between saving a life and disposing of blood, "he added.

Justice Yosef Elron explained his reasons for opposing the decision to double the prison sentence.

"I believe there is no reason to reject the possibility that, although an objective observation shows that there was" no danger (by the deceased) ", as described in the amended indictment, the respondent felt a subjective sense of danger or Threat of the deceased, who participated in throwing stones and riots, and only marched four minutes later to the armed forces for a reason that is unclear, in a way that could have aroused the suspicion of the respondent, "he said. .

Elron also pointed out that at the moment of the incident Deri under his command had a soldier in compulsory service who had been "sent by the state to carry out his work".

"The respondent was confronted with a wave of rioters, an angry mob who threw stones at him to hurt him, and in these circumstances he felt a threat to his life," wrote Elron.

Justice Yosef Elron (Photo: Gil Nehushtan)

Justice Yosef Elron (Photo: Gil Nehushtan)

"For that reason, we need to be extra careful when assessing the actions of members of the security forces around operational activities or in combat situations", insisted the single independent judge, and added that it is important to take into account the circumstances in the field. , the feelings experienced by security personnel and their actions taken in real time.

Although he acknowledged that Deri had caused death and that he had to be held accountable, Elron insisted that the malicious intent could not be attributed to the officer.

"His actions should not be regarded as punitive, but rather be viewed against the background of the circumstances surrounding the incident," he concluded.

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