Lubarsky Family Boycotts Trial of Soldier’s Murderer Over Tribunal Members’ Powers

YERUSHALAYIM -
Family and friends attend the funeral of Israeli soldier Ronen Lubarsky, Hy”d, May 27. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The trial for Islam Abu-Hamid, the murderer of IDF soldier Ronen Lubarsky, Hy”d, opened on Monday – but the family of the slain soldier was not present, after having walked out of the trial when it opened. The reason: The three members of the military tribunal are not high-ranking enough to order a death sentence for the terrorist.

Lubarsky was killed last May after he was severely injured in an IDF action in Ramallah. He was hit in the head by a block of marble dropped on him by Arab terrorists as soldiers were attempting to make arrests of terrorists in the refugee camp outside Ramallah.

Abu-Hamid admitted under interrogation that it was he who threw a block of marble on the head of Lubarsky as he and other soldiers of the Duvdevan unit were carrying out arrests in the camp.

According to Israeli law, a military tribunal can sentence terrorists to death – but the members of the tribunal must be at least of the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. The members of the tribunal hearing Abu-Hamid’s case are of a lower rank – and the family, speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, said they would not be a party to what they called a “farce” trial.

Speaking to Channel 20, Arik Lubarksy, brother of the murdered soldier, said family members had met with numerous officials, from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on down, demanding that the death penalty be on the table as a punishment for Abu-Hamid.

“When we walked into the courtroom today we saw that our request was not honored, [and] we decided to walk out in protest. If the military court does not respect our wishes, we will not be a part of this farce. They should be ashamed,” he said, referring to the government officials the family had spoken with.

This was the second attempt at a trial for Abu-Hamid. A first round of judges was rejected by the family, and the Military Prosecutor’s Office promised to change it – and did so, replacing the previous members of the tribunal with a new group, but also below the necessary rank.

“They are making fun of us,” Arik Lubarsky said of the Prosecutor’s Office. “If that is the case we just won’t be involved in this. Clearly setting up a situation where imposing the death penalty on terrorists is a deliberate policy decision.”

Lieut. Col. Morris Hirsch, who is acting as the family’s liaison to the tribunal, told Channel 20 that “according to the law in Yehudah and Shomron, there is no legal limitation on asking for a new set of judges and providing a tribunal that has the power to impose the death penalty. Any claim that this is not the case is simply wrong.”