Another J’lem Day mob attack terrorist convicted

Please click here for a list of posts relating to cases in which Honenu provided legal counsel to victims of antisemitic attacks in Jerusalem.

Monday, May 27, 2024, 15:14 Recently, the Jerusalem District Court convicted Muhammed Qutub, one of the rioting terrorists who participated in a mob attack injuring three Jews driving near Lions’ Gate in Jerusalem during Operation Guardian of the Walls three years ago. Qutub, who was injured when the Jewish driver lost control of his car, and unsuccessfully sued over the injury, was convicted of aggravated assault in an act of terror and racially motivated malicious vehicular vandalism.

The attack; Video credit: Israel Police

The attack occurred on Jerusalem Day in 2021, May 10 that year, when Arab rioting throughout Israel during Operation Guardian of the Walls was taking place. Three Jews were driving toward the Western Wall to pray. When they neared Rockefeller Junction, their car became trapped in a traffic jam. Arab youths who were standing nearby noticed that the passengers in the car were Jews. The youths gathered rocks and threw them at the car, shattering the back windshield. One of the terrorists opened a car door and sprayed pepper spray at the passengers. As a result of the rock barrage, the pepper spray inside the car, and a head injury, the driver lost control of the car. The car veered to the right, into a low wall, and injured Qutub, who was participating in the attack.

The police detained several suspects who had taken part in the rioting, some of whom were later arrested. Two were convicted and sentenced to 58 months’ imprisonment. However, the identity of the injured terrorist, Qutub, was initially unknown to the police. Some time after the attack, Qutub sued the attacked driver for compensation in an attempt to cause him financial damage. The driver turned to Honenu for assistance, and in the statement of defense, Honenu Attorneys Menashe Yado and Chayim Bleicher proved that Qutub was the same terrorist who had taken part in the attack. Therefore, the court rejected the terrorist’s suit out of hand and continued to rule on the suit against him. Once the terrorist’s name was known, the victim filed a complaint against him with the police. They arrested Qutub and compiled evidence leading to his indictment by the State Attorney’s Office.

During a hearing, Jerusalem District Court Judge Penina Neuwirth accepted the opinion of the State Attorney’s Office according to which video documentation of the attack proves that Qutub was involved. The State Attorney’s Office also cited discrepancies between the various testimonies that Qutub gave under police interrogations. Based on one of the video clips documenting the attack, Judge Neuwirth determined that, “The defendant’s body movements indicated that he was looking for something on the street. The defendant bent down, looked down, bent over toward the street, and then turned around to face the [victim’s] car.”

Judge Neuwirth continued: “The path that the car was traveling on the street at the beginning of the video clip, and the people running after the car, indicate that the incident from which the driver was trying to escape was in progress. Also, the people fleeing on the sidewalk on the left side of the street indicate that a disturbance from which the people on the sidewalk were trying to escape began before the video started . The hand and body gestures of the defendant, likewise the circumstances under which they were made – running after the car immediately after the man to the left of the defendant threw a rock – do not leave room for doubt regarding the active involvement of the defendant in the rioting and rock-throwing by him at the car from close range.”

In the verdict, Judge Neuwirth added that in light of the above, she ruled that the defendant acted with the goal of instilling fear or panic in the public. “The act of the defendant posed a substantial risk of serious injury,” underscored Judge Neuwirth, and therefore convicted the terrorist of aggravated assault in an act of terror and racially motivated malicious vehicular vandalism.

Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher, who is representing the Jewish victims of the mob attack, reacted to the verdict: “We are pleased with the conviction of the terrorist who not only took part in an act of terror but also tried to extract financial compensation from one of his victims. Fortunately, in this case it was possible to prove the terrorist’s guilt and convict him. We will continue to demand penalization to the full extent of the law that will constitute a deterrence. We also intend to sue the terrorist in civil proceedings. Terrorists must pay the price for their antisemitic acts of terror.”

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