State may seek harsher sentence for border policeman convicted of killing Palestinian illegal worker

The state has not yet decided whether to appeal the one-year jail sentence handed down on Sunday against former border policeman Tomer Avraham, who was convicted of manslaughter in the death of an illegal Palestinian worker whom he shot. The Justice Ministry's Police Investigation Department (PID), which investigated and prosecuted Avraham, said it believed the defendant should have received a longer sentence and "would study the court's decision and decide what to do." The state has 45 days to appeal for a harsher sentence to the Supreme Court. The ruling was handed down by Tel Aviv District Court Judge Oded Mudrik, who rejected the state's request to sentence Avraham to several years in jail. "In its decision, the court accepted the PID position that the defendant's rash action which led to his accidentally opening fire should be considered manslaughter and not causing death through negligence," the Justice Ministry spokesman said in a written statement. Avraham's lawyer, Ya'acov Kemer, had argued in court that his client should not be convicted of manslaughter because there was no criminal intent behind his action. The shooting incident occurred in October 2006 when two policemen detained three Palestinians in Jaffa suspected of staying overnight in Israel without permits. According to the indictment, the police held two of the three suspects in a room on the premises where they had been found. The policemen severely beat the Palestinians and Avraham remained in the room to guard them. The policeman then turned to one of the two, Iyad Abu Raia, who was sitting on the floor with his back to the wall and did not pose a threat of any kind, and demanded to know where other illegal workers could be found. Avraham cocked and aimed his M-16 rifle at Abu Raia and put his finger on the trigger to frighten him into divulging information. The gun went off accidentally. Mudrik wrote that Avraham was tormented by what he had done.