Court: Afula ‘Terrorist’ Was Trying to Commit Suicide

An aerial view of Afula. (Tamir Bejerano)

An Israeli Arab woman who had been sentenced to six months in prison had her sentence overturned Tuesday by a Nazareth court. Asra Abed, a Nazareth resident who pulled out a knife in October 2015 in the Afula Central Bus Station in what appeared to be a terror attack, was actually trying to get herself shot by IDF soldiers or security guards. Instead of going to jail, Abed will carry out her sentence in a public service setting.

In the incident, she held a knife and advanced on soldiers, announcing that she was a terrorist. Two Border Guards shot at her, hitting her in the lower part of her body and moderately injuring her. She was charged with terrorism, but her attorneys offered a novel theory – that due to her mental anguish, she had actually been trying to commit suicide, with Israeli security officers supplying the firepower she did not have access to.

It turned out that Abed had a history of attempted suicides, and the court ruled that the evidence was convincing enough to overturn her conviction. Instead of jail, Abed will be sent to a facility where she can be helped with her suicide issues. With that, she will be required to do public service when she is capable of doing so, since she chose a “very dangerous method of expressing her mental anguish,” the court said, with an eye toward discouraging such behavior.

Abed’s attorney said that the decision was a “fair and proper one. She did not have any intention to hurt anyone in the area at all.”

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