IDF forces have carried out dozens of arrests as part of the effort to capture the terrorist As'am Barghouti who carried out the shooting attack in Givat Assaf. .
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)
The IDF prosecution and the defense struck the first plea deal in the case of five IDF soldiers accused of beating two Palestinians while handcuffed and blindfolded.
One of the five soldiers agreed on Sunday to confess to beating the Palestinians severely and to a six-and-a-half month prison sentence.
The soldier would also be demoted in rank and be given a suspended sentence.
Negotiations over the fate of the other four soldiers are still in play and their detention was extended until Wednesday to allow further discussions between the IDF prosecution and the defense before going to trial.
Reportedly, part of the deal for the soldier who has plead guilty is that after he serves his sentence, he can request that the president purge his criminal record and the IDF will likely support the request.
The broader concern is to remove the criminal record so as not to impact his future job prospects.
Last week, one of the five soldiers was released to attend a family wedding in France and also presumably on the basis that his role in the beatings was less than the others.
The other four defendants’ detention has been extended numerous times since they were first arrested on January 10.
The five soldiers, who serve in the ultra-Orthodox Netzah Yehuda Battalion, are accused of perpetrating the beatings against two Palestinians on January 8.
The two Palestinians, a father and a son, were detained on suspicion of aiding Asam Barghouti evade authorities. Barghouti was the terrorist responsible for the Givat Assaf West Bank outpost attack, in which two IDF soldiers from the Netzah Yehuda Battalion were killed and another solider and female civilian were wounded. The two are still in custody but have not yet been charged.
According to the indictment, the defendants took photos and video footage while they beat the Palestinians all over their bodies,
including in intimate parts of the body.
The accused are said to have removed the son’s blindfold and forced him to watch as his father was beaten.
During the footage, one can hear cries of joy from the soldiers as the Palestinians are beaten and calling for help.
Both Palestinians were hospitalized at Shaare Zedek Medical Center due to the beatings.
The indictment of the soldiers also mentioned obstruction of justice charges based on WhatsApp messages between two of the defendants about trying to coordinate their narratives.
Also last week, the soldiers’ commander, a lieutenant, was indicted for negligence and failing to prevent their actions.Though the officer himself was not involved in beating the Palestinians
, he has already been suspended pending trial in an apparent move by the IDF to crack down on officers who do not restrain their soldiers.
The IDF prosecution has been adamant that the five soldiers will need to serve some jail time, while the defense has argued that the issue should have been dealt with by disciplinary and not criminal charges.
The IDF Central District Court recommended negotiations over a deal run for two weeks until February 19, but with that deadline long passed, it is unclear how long the negotiations will drag out before a trial.
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