The military prosecutor’s office said Tuesday that it will appeal a decision made by a military court in October that convicted on charges of manslaughter Madoch Yussuf Muhammad Amaro, the terrorist who killed Eliav Gelman, Hy”d, almost three years ago – but exonerated him on charges of murder. Members of the Gelman family met with prosecutors Monday night, when they were informed of the decision, Channel 20 reported.
Gelman, 30, of the town of Carmei Tzur, was killed hitchhiking at the Gush Etzion Junction on February 24, 2016. He was waiting for a ride home after serving several days of reserve duty. Amaro rushed Gelman, flailing a knife. He managed to pull out his weapon and shot at the terrorist, while soldiers who were in the area fired at Amaro as well. However, they hit Gelman as well – and the soldier later passed away from chest wounds due to the bullet that hit him.
As such, Amaro did not technically murder Gelman, although prosecutors argued that the entire reason shots were fired was because the terrorist was in the act of attempting to murder the victim.
Two of the three judges on the military court panel Wednesday voted to convict Amaro of manslaughter, while one voted to convict him of intentionally causing the death of someone, a charge that carries penalties that are the same as murder.
In their decision, the judges said that there was no way to know if Amaro had actually planned to murder Gelman; perhaps he had wanted just to injure him. Without knowing his state of mind, he could not be convicted of murder, they said.
The decision set off angry relations among many, including Avigdor Liberman, Defense Minister at the time, who said that the decision “made no sense. I am sure that in the end,” upon appeal, the decision would be updated to convict Amaro of murder. “Any terrorist who runs at a soldier or civilians brandishing a knife is clearly trying to murder them, and must be convicted of such charges. This decision is illogical, and I am sure it will be overturned in the end,” he added.
Speaking after the sentencing, attorney Chaim Bleicher, who represented the family, said that “seeking out the terrorist’s state of mind, when it is clear that he was part of the terrorists’ efforts to kill Jews, is not logical and unacceptable. It is clear that his purpose was to murder, and unfortunately he achieved his goal.”
Speaking after Monday night’s meeting, Yehonatan Gelman, brother of the murdered victim, said that he was happy that the “dangerous and angering” decision would be appealed. “Unfortunately while the IDF and we citizens fight against terror, the courts regard terror attacks like criminal matters, and do not apply the laws regarding warfare to them. B’ezras Hashem, by fighting in the courts and on the battlefield, we will beat the terrorists.”