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 lieutenant who commanded the five IDF soldiers who allegedly beat two Palestinians was indicted on Sunday for negligence and failing to prevent their actions.
The full list of charges also included unbecoming conduct during the January 8 incident, when the commander sat in the same vehicle with his soldiers, watching them, without telling them to stop, as they beat the two Palestinians who were handcuffed and blindfolded. They were also beat with hard objects.
Though the officer was not personally involved in beating the Palestinians, he has already been suspended pending a trial, in an apparent move by the IDF to crack down on officers who do not restrain their soldiers.
The five soldiers, who serve in the ultra-Orthodox Netzah Yehuda Battalion, were arrested on January 10 following the incident.
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 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 areas.
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 call for help.Both Palestinians were hospitalized at Shaare Zedek Medical Cente
r due to the beatings.
The indictment of the soldiers also mentioned obstruction of justice charges based on WhatsApp messages between some defendants, who were trying to coordinate their narratives.
Sunday’s indictment came after attempts to reach a plea deal with the lieutenant failed.
On Thursday, both the IDF prosecution and the defense denied reports from Channel 12 that separate negotiations over a plea deal for the five IDF soldiers had blown up due to unbridgeable gaps.
While Channel 12 quoted lawyers appointed by the IDF public defender to represent the five soldiers as threatening to walk away from negotiations, the chief IDF public defender said that the negotiations would continue.
A source from the IDF prosecution also denied that negotiations were at a final impasse.
On Sunday, plea deal negotiations for the five soldiers continued, but there was no breakthrough, leaving Tuesday as the last day for negotiations before the case moves forward to trial.
The IDF prosecution has been adamant that the soldiers will need to serve some jail time, while the defense has argued that the issue should have been dealt with by disciplinary, not criminal, charges.
The IDF central district court recommended negotiations two weeks ago, regarding the allegations that the soldiers severely beat two Palestinian detainees in handcuffs, both with their fists and by using hard objects.
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