Captain R sues 'Uvda' news program

Suit says soldier can't be 'portrayed as an animal... to boost ratings.'

Captain R, who was acquitted of charges that he shot and killed a 13-year-old Palestinian girl at point-blank range, on Tuesday sued Ilana Dayan, the host of the news magazine "Uvda," and the program's producers for NIS 3 million, Army Radio reported. R claimed that the program edited the videotape that recorded the events culminating in the girl's death in a defamatory manner. "Captain R can't be portrayed as an animal who attacked a young girl just to create a sensation and boost ratings," the lawsuit read. Ilana Dayan preferred not to respond. R, a Givati Brigade company commander, broke down and cried after the Southern Command Military Court acquitted him of all charges, a year after he was accused of shooting Iyman al-Hams, 13, and 'verifying the kill' outside the Girit outpost near Rafah. According to his lawyer, Elad Eizenberg, the captain never fired a burst of gunfire at point blank range into the girl's body and he was not the only one to shoot that day. 'He did not shoot at the girl at point blank range, the soldiers lied because they wanted to oust him,' the attorney said. In the 100-page court protocol that summed up the judges' unanimous decision of the shooting, the judges accepted the officer's claim that he thought the schoolgirl was a terrorist. The judges harshly criticized the military police probe, calling it amateurish. They also criticized the media, accusing it of being quick to judge the officer's fate before the court trial had been concluded. The court also found that Capt. R had acted in accordance with army regulations and genuinely believed that the girl was in fact a terrorist at the time of the shooting. Capt R. was indicted last November on two counts of illegal use of weapons, obstruction of justice, unbecoming behavior and the improper use of authority that endangered others. Throughout, he denied the charges against him and expressed his intention to clear his name. In February this year, in a dramatic about-face, one of the soldiers who testified that he had seen Capt. R. shoot Hams to death at point-blank range admitted to the court that he had lied. Because of the developments, the court ordered the release of Capt. R. from custody and the return of his weapon.