Stabbing victim Hannah Bladon, 20, an exchange student at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. .
(photo credit: FACEBOOK)
Jameel Tamimi was sentenced to 18 years in prison by the Jerusalem District Court on Thursday in a plea deal for the murder of Hannah Bladon, a 20-year-old British exchange student who was stabbed to death on April 14, 2017 on the Jerusalem Light Rail.
Bladon’s family and their lawyer, Maurice Hirsch, wanted a life sentence and were pained by the reduced sentence, but had been prepared by the state prosecution that there would be risks going to trial because of the issue of Tamimi’s mental state.
Tamimi at 57 will only be released from prison when he is in his mid-70s.
The court recognized the Bladon family’s pain and the complexity of the sentence.
On December 31, the prosecution and the defense made arguments regarding the sentence in light of Tamimi’s reduced mental state.
The court surprised the sides by delaying its decision until Thursday, stoking speculation that it might pursue a more severe sentence.
While it was found that Tamimi could differentiate between right and wrong, it was also found that Tamimi was mentally unstable, leading to the expected reduced sentence.
According to the indictment filed by the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office, the attack took place extremely close to the Old City, where tens of thousands of visitors were observing Passover and Easter.
Tamimi, a resident of east Jerusalem’s Ras el-Amud neighborhood, purchased a 30.5-cm.-long knife at 10:30 a.m. on the day of the murder.
Between noon and 12:30, Tamimi called his two sons to arrange a visit. Both rejected his request and suggested he return to the Kfar Shaul Mental Health Center from where he had been discharged.
The indictment said the conversations angered Tamimi and led to his immediate decision to commit murder. Tamimi boarded a train heading towards the center of town at 1 p.m.
He neared Bladon, then stabbed her repeatedly in her back and chest until he was tackled by a fellow passenger.
“The suspect was taken to Jerusalem’s police headquarters for questioning, where it was confirmed that it was a terrorist attack,” Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said at the time.
Bladon’s family said that they were devastated by her murder, in a statement issued through the British Foreign Office.
“Hannah was the most caring, sensitive and compassionate daughter you could ever wish for,” the statement said. “She was a talented student, and was studying at Birmingham University towards a degree in religion, theology and archaeology.”
The family noted that Bladon was actively involved in the community and, as part of an exchange program at Hebrew University, had taken part in an archaeological dig on the morning of her death.
She began her studies at the Hebrew University in January 2017 and was expected to complete the program in September of that year.
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