Call for life sentences for killers of teen
January 13 2016 11:25 PM
TEEN
Suha, the mother of late Palestinian teenager Mohamed Abu Khdeir, waits in a courtroom at a Jerusalem district court yesterday before a sentencing hearing in the case of two young Jewish men convicted last year of the kidnap and murder of her son (seen on the badge).

AFP/Jerusalem

Israeli prosecutors yesterday called for life sentences for two young Jews convicted of burning alive a Palestinian teen, part of an upsurge in violence ahead of the 2014 Gaza war.
The request was made at an emotional hearing in a Jerusalem court for the two, who were minors at the time of the chilling attack in which they and a third man snatched Mohamed Abu Khdeir, 16, from an east Jerusalem street and subsequently killed him.
Israeli settler Yosef Haim Ben-David, 31, is said to have led the attack on Abu Khdeir but his lawyers say he suffers from a mental illness and was not responsible for his actions at the time.
The court has found that he committed the crime but is yet to rule if he is mentally competent.
The two others were 16 when they were charged in 2014 but are now adults. They cannot be identified by court order.
The prosecutor said the attacks came against the backdrop of ideological hatred and called for life sentences.
The court is due to hand down its sentence on February 4, with the ruling on Ben-David’s sanity expected two days earlier.
Both of Abu Khdeir’s parents took the stand in the hearing to call for severe sentences.
The two defendants bowed their heads when Abu Khdeir’s mother began to speak. At one point she addressed the two teenagers, both of whom were wearing skullcaps.
“My son Mohamed was the same age as you. Why did you do this to him?” Suha Abu Khdeir asked through tears.
“I know my son won’t come back but I want them to be punished to be a lesson and so this doesn’t happen to any other mother.”
His father Hussein, speaking in Arabic, told the three judges “we are living in a nightmare. I wake up in the night screaming.”
He called on Israeli authorities to demolish the houses of the assailants’ families as they regularly do with Palestinians convicted of attacks.
The court’s actions are being closely watched at a time of renewed Israeli-Palestinian tensions.


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