Mohammed Abu Khdeir Case: Two Teens Convicted
Mohammed Abu Khdeir’s trial has taken a very surprising turn – 31-year-old Yosef Haim Ben David, the ringleader accused of burning the teenager alive, is officially claiming to be insane. After three Israeli judges had convicted two Jewish teenagers for the murder, David’s lawyer dropped a bombshell in the shape of a psychiatric report that proves his client is mentally unstable to stand trial and asked for an insanity plea.
Mohammed Abu Khdeir‘s killers have been convicted, but not all of them will be sentenced next month. On Monday, three judges in an Israeli courtroom convicted two Jewish minors for the 2014 death of 16-year-old Palestinian Mohammed Abu Khdeir.
In June 2014, Khdeir was abducted as he was entering a mosque and later killed. The teenagers, whose identities have not been released, were found guilty of kidnapping, beating and burning Abu Khdeir alive – claims that have always been denied by the duo, who say that Yosef Haim Ben David acted alone.
The young men, both 17, will be sentenced on January 13. Court documents showed that judges believed that the trio worked together to take Khdeir’s young life:
The judges determined that Ben David drove the Palestinian teen while his two accomplices beat Abu Khdeir unconscious in car. One accomplice helped Ben David douse Abu Khdeir with gasoline, and the older suspect lit the match. The two minors confessed to the kidnapping in court, while Ben David did not testify.
It is widely reported that Mohammad Abu Khdeir was killed out of revenge for the brutal murders of three Israeli teenagers – 16-year-olds Naftali Frenkel and Gilad Shaar, and Eyal Yifrah, 19, in the West Bank. The murders of the teenagers led to a 50-day war in the Gaza Strip between Israeli and Palestinian militants, causing thousands of deaths.
The hearing took a dramatic turn when in the last minute, Yosef Haim Ben-David’s attorney, Asher Ohayon, asked for an insanity plea after submitting a psychiatric report. Since his arrest, Ben David claimed insanity, but never saw any specialists to confirm it – until now.
The court has until December 20 to decide whether the opinion is significant enough to do a full review of the case. At a press conference, Mohammed Abu Khdeir’s father, Hussein Abu Khdeir, slammed the court by saying David pulled a “trick,” and they believed him. The man said:
“The court behaves one way with Arabs and another way with Jews. This is a lie. I am afraid that the court will release them (suspects) in the end. I will not accept less than a lifetime prison sentence and demand to demolish their houses. I don’t believe in the Israeli judiciary, and I want to see if they will be fair or not. We will go to the International Criminal Court if the Israeli court mitigates their sentence.”
What are your thoughts on the convictions?