Israeli who burned Palestinian child to death ruled sane

Psychiatrist rules Israeli who burned Palestinian child to death is sane and responsible for his actions

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Mother of Mohammed Abu Khdeir cries upon hearing the verdict at the trial for the brutal killing of her son, at the Jerusalem District Court, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015.

Updated Feb 24, 2016

A psychiatrist has ruled that an Israeli man who kidnapped and burned to death a Palestinian child in 2014 was responsible for his actions, the lawyer for the victim’s family said on Tuesday.

The court established that Israeli settler Yosef Haim Ben-David, 31, was the ringleader of the vicious attack.

A document saying he suffered mental illness was submitted to the court, after which the court appointed a psychiatrist who concluded that the perpetrator lied about his mental state to avoid punishment, a lawyer said.

Ben-David’s next court hearing is scheduled for March 22.

Two accomplices of the assailant were sentenced to life and 21 years in prison for the killing, which came at a time of increasing violence between Palestinians and Israelis, particularly in the Israeli-occupied territories.

The two kidnapped Mohammad Abu Khdeir, a minor, from an east Jerusalem street and locked him in a vehicle. After repeated beatings, he was burnt alive to his death while the charred remains of his body were found by police a few hours later.

Israeli authorities said the three Israelis had decided to kill an Arab and equipped themselves with cables, petrol and other materials before randomly choosing Abu Khdeir.

The trial of Ben-David comes as tensions are high once again, with almost 200 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces and civilians since last October while some 27 Israelis have also been killed.

In July and August 2014, Israel launched the 51-day "Operation Protective Edge" in Gaza Strip, killing more than 2,100 civilians, mostly women and children and injuring another 11,000. On the Israeli side, 67 soldiers and six civilians were killed.

Abu Khdeir’s mourning family, who expressed doubt the Israeli judiciary system will give them justice, have harshly condemned Ben-David as a cold-blooded murderer.

Those jailed for a life term in Israel can be offered parole for good behaviour after serving two-thirds of their sentence, which can open the way for a reduced sentence of 25 years.

TRTWorld and agencies