Charges against Negev rancher may be reduced

By JOSHUA BRANNON
January 20, 2007 23:49

Chairman of the Negev Development Council says authorities had been overzealous in their efforts to prosecute Dromi for murder.

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Charges against Negev rancher may be reduced

farmer shai 298. (photo credit: Channel 1)

Beersheba District prosecutors have asked that the charge against Negev sheep rancher Shai Dromi be reduced from murder to manslaughter, Channel 2 reported on Friday. Dromi was arrested on January 13 after he shot at a group of Beduin intruders apparently intent on stealing livestock from his ranch in the Yatir forest. Khaled al-Atrash, 31, was killed, and a second Beduin man was seriously wounded. Last week, police said they would charge Dromi for murder in what they called an unjustified shooting. The court is expected to address the issue on Sunday morning, sources familiar with the case said. Police said Dromi did not have a permit for his rifle. Dromi's lawyer, Benny Nahari, said on Friday that Dromi had acquired the rifle after previous trespassers had killed a guard dog, stolen property, and left a knife on his doorstep. Shmulick Rifman, chairman of the Negev Development Council, said authorities had been overzealous in their efforts to prosecute Dromi for murder. He said police may be hesitant to take on Beduin crime families in the region, citing the fact that the intruder critically wounded in the shooting had yet to be charged. Agricultural communities across the nation have come out in support of Dromi, who they say used legitimate force after police proved incapable, or unwilling, of protecting their property.


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