Ringleader in Abu Khdeir Sentenced to Life in Prison

YERUSHALAYIM -

The ringleader in the brutal murder of a Palestinian teenager two years ago was sentenced to life in prison by the Yerushalayim District Court on Tuesday.

The court turned down an 11th-hour insanity plea filed last December, and found Yosef Haim Ben David guilty of the murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, 16, on July 2, 2014, which had inflamed passions and led to a wave of Palestinian violence at the time.

An expression of remorse apparently did nothing to mitigate the sentence, which included 20 years for being the ringleader, in addition to the 25-year life sentence, and an order to pay NIS 150,000 in compensation to the Abu Khdeir family, and NIS 20,000 to Moussa Zaloum, whom he had tried to kidnap just two days before the murder.

Ben David expressed remorse for his crime — “I apologize and ask forgiveness,” he said in court — but the full punishment was meted out with unusual speed. Whereas courts often take days or weeks to determine sentencing, in this case the decision was handed down almost immediately after sentencing arguments had concluded.

A lawyer for the Abu Khdeir family said he had filed a request with Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan to demolish the Ben David family house.

Rejecting the insanity plea, the court wrote that “at the time of the perpetrating of the crime, the accused was not psychotic, understood his actions well, was culpable for his actions, in control of them, had no disturbance in judging reality and had the ability to prevent commission of the crimes.”