Five IDF soldiers indicted for beating Palestinian detainees
The soldiers were arrested on suspicion of beating the two detainees while they were handcuffed and blindfolded, leaving them severely injured as a result.
By YONAH JEREMY BOB, ANNA AHRONHEIMUpdated: FEBRUARY 1, 2019 01:11
Five IDF soldiers were indicted Thursday for allegedly seriously beating two Palestinian detainees in handcuffs both with their fists and using hard objects on January 8.Two of the soldiers were also indicted in the IDF Central District Court for obstruction of justice after they allegedly tried to coordinate presenting a similar false narrative of the incident.The five soldiers, who serve in the ultra-Orthodox Netzah Yehuda Battalion, were arrested on January 10 and the prosecution requested an extension of the arrest until the end of the trial.The soldiers were arrested on suspicion of beating the two detainees while they were handcuffed and blindfolded, leaving them severely injured as a result of the beating.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 Palestinians 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 their intimate parts.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 Shaarei Tzedek Hospital due to the beatings.Regarding the obstruction of justice charges, the indictment said that the IDF has evidence of WhatsApp messages between defendants 3 and 4 in which they endeavor to coordinate their narratives.In addition to the five soldiers, their commanding officer who holds the rank of lieutenant, was also arrested, though he is now in open detention – meaning not behind bars, but unable to leave his army base.The military has been investigating whether the soldiers had been motivated by revenge for their comrades killed in the deadly attack.MK Betzalel Smotrich (Bayit Yehudi) criticized the indictment saying that even if the soldiers made mistakes, that the case should be handled through disciplinary proceedings and not a court martial.He argued that when the soldiers allegedly beat the two Palestinians, they were arresting terrorists. Moreover, it was after they had seen the bodies of their murdered friends, he said.
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