Israel considering dismissing manslaughter charges against 2 soldiers

Dismissing manslaughter

The Israeli prosecution is negotiating a plea bargain in the case of two Israeli soldiers accused of manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a Palestinian teenager in 2013.

According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, the soldiers were serving in the occupation army, when they shot and killed 16-year-old Samir Awad.

The lawyers for the two men claimed that convicting the soldiers would be a selective enforcement of the law, since it is rare for an indictment to be brought against Israeli soldiers who shoot and kill Palestinians.

The two soldiers were participating in an ambush in the vicinity of an apartheid fence near the West Bank village of Budrus in January, 2013 when the murder was perpetrated.

According to the indictment, the soldiers emerged from the ambush and began chasing Awad, who was trapped between the two fences. At that point, one soldier fired two bullets at Awad. His commander then fired three more bullets. Awad was taken to a hospital in Ramallah, where he succumbed to the gunshot wounds.

Alleging that it was not possible to determine which of the bullets was the fatal one, the prosecution decided not to indict the soldiers for manslaughter, but instead on the lesser charges of recklessness and negligence — which carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison.

During the hearing, attorneys for the accused claimed that their clients should not be convicted because it was not proven that they acted negligently and because the law was being selectively enforced in their case. The attorneys presented military data showing that in the last seven years, out of 110 cases in which soldiers had shot and killed Palestinians, only four indictments were filed. The court expressed doubts as to its ability to convict the two men due to the issue of selective enforcement.

The defense lawyers also noted that firing at Palestinians attempting to cross the separation fence is allowed under army regulations.

The defense brought up the possibility of dismissing the charges. Negotiations are underway for a plea agreement and the prosecution is expected to present its decision prior to the next court hearing in the case on March 26.

(Source / 14.03.2018)

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