Palmer dad asks military court for harsher sentence

In precedent-setting move, father of Asher Palmer, will request permission to make a statement at Ofer Military Court.

By
June 5, 2012 23:46
2 minute read.
Michael Palmer at the Ofer military court [file]

Michael Palmer at the Ofer military court 370. (photo credit: JOANNA PARASZCZUK)

 
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In a precedent-setting move, the father of Asher Palmer, the 24-year-old man killed along with his infant son when his car overturned on Route 60, will request permission to make a statement at the Ofer Military Court on Wednesday during an appeal against a 10- month sentence for a Palestinian convicted of stealing Palmer’s gun moments after his death.

Palmer and his baby son Yonatan were killed last September when their car overturned near Kiryat Arba. They had been on their way to meet Palmer’s pregnant wife in Jerusalem.

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However, a police investigation revealed that the two had been murdered – a result of rock-throwing, and not a car accident as the IDF had at first suspected.

Shehada Awad Shehada Shatat, who was not connected to the rock-throwing but who saw the incident and immediately afterward robbed Palmer’s body without calling for medical help, received a NIS 1,000 fine on top of his 10-month prison term.

Two other Palestinian men – Ali Saadeh and Wa’al al-Arjeh from Halhoul, near Hebron – were charged in the Ofer Military Court under military law with intentionally causing the deaths of Palmer and his son, equivalent to a murder charge under civilian law.

Michael Palmer, Asher’s father, said that in sentencing Shatat, the military court had failed to take into account the rights of the victims of the crime.

The Palmer family says it will to ask the court on Wednesday for permission to give a victim impact statement describing the effect Shatat’s crime has had on the family.

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In civilian criminal trials, victim impact statements are a standard part of sentencing arguments, and judges take them into account when imposing punishments.

However, Michael Palmer said he had not considered giving such a statement at Shatat’s sentencing hearing – because the military advocate-general had not informed him that the hearing was taking place.

The Palmer family’s legal representative, former military court judge attorney Adrian Agassi, discovered that Shatat had been sentenced only two months later.

Michael Palmer said the chief prosecutor for Judea and Samaria had told the family that he did not know about the trial.

The prosecution later appealed against the leniency of the sentence.

“I think that the Shatat sentencing demonstrates very clearly the importance of considering victims’ rights,” Michael Palmer told The Jerusalem Post ahead of Wednesday’s hearing.

“Shatat saw the attack, saw Asher and Yonatan die, maintained chilling presence of mind as he looked into the just-dead faces of a father and his infant son and then proceeded to desecrate Asher’s still warm body to find and steal the weapon,” he continued.

“Shatat may very well have literally had Asher’s blood on his hands!” He added that in passing sentence on Shatat, Military Court Judge Maj. Eti Adar had failed to take into account what the elder Palmer described as the “horror” of Shatat’s actions.

“I hope that the appeals court will accept my statement and then be able to consider the evilness of his crime and the effect this horrible man has had on Asher’s family,” he stated.

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