05:39 GMT10 May 2021
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    Three Israeli soldiers were convicted by a military court Thursday of the aggravated abuse of a Palestinian father and son they’d taken into custody on suspicion of aiding a terrorist attack. The conviction is the result of a plea deal.

    The three struck a deal with prosecutors: in exchange for guilty pleas for aggravated abuse, they were not indicted on more serious assault charges, the Times of Israel reports, and will instead serve 190 days in prison, be demoted and be placed on probation on their release. The other two accused are still negotiating a deal.

    Five IDF soldiers had been indicted for the beating, and two additionally charged with obstruction of justice for trying to align their stories before their interrogations and for pretending not to understand Hebrew well and deleting relevant chat messages, Ynet News reported in January.

    When the three will be sentenced remains unclear — some local outlets report that the sentencing will be announced Sunday, others Tuesday.

    The Palestinian father and son were detained by members of the all-male, Orthodox Netzah Yehuda Battalion January 8, according to the indictment, on suspicion of having been indirectly involved in a December shooting attack on the Givat Asaf settlement that killed two Israel Defense Forces soldiers and wounded a third, as well as a civilian woman. The soldiers involved in the beating were friends of those who were killed, according to Israeli media.

    Sputnik has previously reported that a group of five Israeli soldiers punched, kicked and bludgeoned the handcuffed and blindfolded detainees with their weapons — and filmed much of the abuse. The father and son were seriously injured and required hospitalization for broken ribs and noses and other wounds.

    Testimony by the detainees was released in February. A Jerusalem Post story on the testimony quotes the son as saying, "I couldn't fight back at all, and no one in the vehicle tried to stop the abuse. When they finished beating us, they danced."

    After the verdict, Lt. Col. Nitai Okashi, commander of the Netzah Yehuda Battalion, said, "As a commander, I condemn this phenomena, which we must eradicate," according to the Jerusalem Post. "It is important to try not only according to justice, but also by the degree of compassion. Going to prison, this prison, is a shock. The soldiers realize their mistake and have learned their lessons."

    Speaking with Sputnik in January on the same case, Ariel Gold, national co-director of US anti-war and social justice activist group Codepink, noted that IDF soldiers who do end up prosecuted for assaulting Palestinians are often hailed as "heroes," both by the public and by Israeli officials.

    IDF soldiers beating Palestinians is "so common," she said. Such violence is just part of "the ordinary aspect of being arrested by the military" in Israel.


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    beating, assault, soldier, guilty plea, detainee, conviction, Israel Defence Forces (IDF), Palestine, Israel, West Bank
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