Harsher penalty sought for cruelty to Palestinians

State Attorney's Office says 200 hours of community service not harsh enough for guards who treated Palestinian cruelly.

Handcuffs (illustrative photo) 370 (photo credit: Reuters)
Handcuffs (illustrative photo) 370
(photo credit: Reuters)
The State Attorney’s Office for Internal Investigations filed an appeal in the Central District Court on Thursday to give a harsher sentence to two volunteer security guards for cruel treatment of Palestinians in custody who had illegally crossed into Israel.
The two guards, Eitan Arzi and Shai Soolam, who admitted to the conduct they were accused of, were sentenced to a mere 200 hours of community service and were not convicted of any offense.
The initial sentence was handed down by the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court on October 22.
The appeal does not specify what the sentence should be, but requests that the court formally convict the defendants and hand down a harsher penalty proportionate to the conviction.
The guards caught four Palestinians who had illegally crossed into Israel at Kanot junction.
They were ordered to bring them to the nearby checkpoint so they would return to their homes under supervision.
Violating their orders, the guards dropped each of the Palestinians off separately at locations far from where they needed to travel.
Despite the cold winter conditions prevailing at the time, they took away the Palestinians’ shoes and some of their clothes.
In addition, the guards also stoned two of the four Palestinians when dropping them off.
The appeal claims that the case represents a gross abuse of authority by the guards, who violated the Palestinians’ human dignity while they were already in custody and not resisting being returned to Palestinian areas.
Additionally, the state said the lenient sentence essentially whitewashed the disgraceful actions and was divorced from the accepted range of punishments, noting that the lower court did not justify its departure from this range.
The guards were indicted in June 2007 with aggravated battery, theft and abuse of authority.
The events that were the subject of the case occurred in January 2007.
The Palestinians were caught while driving from Ashdod toward the Kanot junction.
They had pulled over on the side of the road when their car had a problem.
The first guard noticed the car stopped by the roadside and started making arrests when one of the Palestinians revealed that he was from Yatta, near Hebron.