Officer who ordered Palestinian shot handed harsher indictment

Lt.-Col. Omri Burbag, the IDF battalion commander who allegedly ordered a soldier to shoot a handcuffed and blindfolded Palestinian stone-thrower in Ni'ilin last summer, has been handed an adjusted indictment which now includes being charged with making threats. Initially, Judge Advocate General Brig.-Gen. Avihai Mandelblit had charged Burbag, commander of Armored Battalion 71, only with inappropriate military conduct, a relatively light charge. However, the latest charge is criminal, and can carry a sentence of up to three years in prison. The decision to change the indictment comes a number of weeks after the High Court of Justice ruled that the original charge sheet was too lenient. The shooting took place on July 7 last year on the outskirts of Ni'ilin, east of Modi'in Illit, where demonstrators have been holding daily protests against construction of the security barrier. In the incident, soldiers imposed a curfew and fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse protesters. Burbag was caught on video leading the blindfolded and handcuffed Palestinian to a military jeep, where the soldier was then seen raising his weapon and discharging a shot. The soldier claimed that Burbag had ordered him to fire, but the officer initially told investigators that all he had told the soldier to do was 'shake his gun' to scare the detainee.