Israel court weighs sanity of man who burned Palestinian alive

2016-02-11 22:02
Israeli settler Yosef Haim Ben-David who is the prime suspect charged along with two minors with the abduction and murder of the Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir. (AFP)

Israeli settler Yosef Haim Ben-David who is the prime suspect charged along with two minors with the abduction and murder of the Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir. (AFP)

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Jerusalem - An Israeli court on Thursday weighed the sanity of a Jewish man found to be the ringleader of the beating and burning alive of a Palestinian teenager in 2014.

Israeli settler Yosef Haim Ben-David, 31, was found to have led the assault, but his lawyers submitted last-minute documents saying he suffered from mental illness and was not responsible for his actions.

Two doctors were to testify on Thursday at the district court in Jerusalem, with a decision not expected until a later date.

On February 4, a court sentenced his two young Israeli accomplices to life and 21 years in prison for the killing, which was part of a spiral of violence in the run-up to the 2014 Gaza war.

The two were minors at the time of the chilling attack in which they snatched Mohammed Abu Khdeir, 16, from an east Jerusalem street and then killed him.

His murder was seen as revenge for the killing of Israeli teenagers Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaer and Eyal Yifrach, who were abducted from a hitch-hiking stop near the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron.

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

Ben-David's case comes with tensions once again high, with a wave of Palestinian knife, gun and car-ramming attacks having erupted in October.

The violence has claimed the lives of 26 Israelis, as well as an American and an Eritrean.

In addition, 166 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, most while carrying out attacks, but others during clashes and demonstrations.

The last-minute legal manoeuvres on behalf of Ben-David were harshly condemned by Abu Khdeir's family, who have expressed doubt they will get justice.

Read more on:    palestine  |  israel

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