Kotel shooter gets life sentence for murdering Jewish visitor over ethnic slur

Hadi Kabalan also ordered to pay NIS 250,000 each to victim Ben-Shalush's mother and daughter and NIS 75,000 to his sister.

March 2, 2015 18:24
1 minute read.
WORSHIPERS PRAY at the Western Wall in the capital during Hanukka last year.

WORSHIPERS PRAY at the Western Wall in the capital during Hanukka last year.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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The Jerusalem District Court on Monday sentenced former security guard Hadi Kabalan to life in prison for murdering Doron Ben- Chelouche during his 2013 visit to the Western Wall.

Kabalan, who was convicted on January 21, 2015, was also ordered to pay NIS 250,000 each to Ben- Chelouche’s mother and daughter and NIS 75,000 to his sister.

The indictment, filed on July 4, 2013, said Kabalan and another guard checked 46-year-old Ben-Chelouche at the security checkpoint when he arrived at the Western Wall area, as he did on a daily basis, on June 21, 2013.

After the check, Ben- Chelouche yelled at the two security guards and used a racial slur against them for being Druse.

The security guards continued their work, during which Kabalan asked two other guards if they would give him NIS 1,000 if he killed Ben-Chelouche and said, “I’ll kill him.”

When Ben-Chelouche walked by the checkpoint later, Kabalan followed him into a nearby clearing near the bathrooms, and when he was meters away opened fire.

Kabalan fired at the center of Ben-Chelouche’s body 14 times, while coming closer and closer to him, and did not stop firing until his magazine was empty.

After the shooting, Kabalan said he shot Ben- Chelouche to death because the 46-year-old shouted “Allahu akbar” and reached into his pocket, thus leading him to believe that Ben- Chelouche was a terrorist with a bomb.

But none of the witnesses nearby heard Ben- Chelouche call out “Allahu akbar,” and testimony from regulars in the area indicated that while Ben- Chelouche was a controversial character, he was completely benign.

The court noted that the place where Kabalan shot Ben-Chelouche was a clearing empty of people, making it seem unlikely that Ben-Chelouche appeared to be about to blow himself up, if his goal was to kill many people.

Next, the court rejected the idea that other aspects of Ben-Chelouche’s appearance and accessories, which Kabalan said he thought indicated Ben-Chelouche had a bomb, could reasonably indicate his being a terrorist or justify Kabalan’s shooting him.

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