Deliberation on appeal for Barkan terrorist’s mother

Rafi Levengrond (L), Guy Yehezkel (R); Photo credit: Honenu

Rafi Levengrond (L), Guy Yehezkel (R); Photo credit: Honenu

Monday, January 27, 2020, 8:37 On Sunday, January 26, a deliberation took place at the Ofer Military Court of Appeals on the appeal filed by the Military Advocate General on the leniency of the penalty handed down to the mother of the Barkan terrorist. The mother was sentenced to an active sentence of only 18 months’ imprisonment. Payment of 40,000 NIS in compensation to the victims’ families was also imposed on her. The Military Advocate General appealed the penalty on the grounds that it does not express at all the severity of her actions and does not constitute a sufficient deterrent for future terrorists. The families of Kim Levengrond-Yehezkel, Hy”d, and Ziv Hajbi, Hy”d, were present at the deliberation, as was Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher, who is representing the families as victims of terror.
At the deliberation the prosecution asked the court to increase the prison sentence to a mid-range punitive penalty and to significantly increase the monetary fine imposed on the mother. The mother’s attorney opposed the request and the President of the Military Court of Appeals, Judge Colonel Netanel Benisho, announced that he would publicize his decision later.
The mother of the Barkan terrorist was convicted of failure to prevent a crime after it was determined that she had been aware of her son’s intent, and had not acted in a reasonable manner to prevent the murder. The mother knew that he possessed a weapon and intended to use it to injure Jews. For two months the terrorist evaded security forces with the substantial assistance of various abettors.
The mother of Ziv Hajbi, Hy”d, who was murdered in the October 2018 attack in Barkan, spoke at the deliberation. Until now, the mother had not been present at deliberations. She said that the court must sentence the mother of the terrorist to life imprisonment for her support of the crime: If the mother had prevented her son from carrying out the act, then the attack would have been prevented. She told the judges that she had already lost her son, and asked them to ensure that future attacks would be prevented, so that other families would not suffer the same loss.
Family members of Kim Levengrond-Yehezkel, Hy”d, who was also murdered in the October 2018 attack in Barkan, were also present. Her father and her husband asked that the penalty handed down to the mother be stiffened in order to deter potential terrorists, and thereby prevent attacks.

Iris Hajbi (L), Rafi Levengrond (C) and Guy Yehezkel (R); Video credit: Honenu
After the deliberation, Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher, stated, “We know that the mother was aware that her son wanted to be a shahid. He warned her that the army would come to the house to look for him and asked her to remove valuables from the house. The son trained with the weapon next to the house. The mother knew everything. She was a full participant in this crime. Additionally, in order to prevent the next attack we must ensure that close family members of terrorists are deterred from providing assistance and know that they will pay a very heavy price for abetting. This is almost the only thing that can be done in order to prevent attacks
“Up until several years ago the penalties for such crimes was extremely low. Recently the penalties have been increasing, largely thanks to bereaved families who come to deliberations and demand more severe sentences. We ask for them to be the last bereaved families. We worked towards increasing the penalties of the terrorist’s brother and of other abettors, and we hope that the mother will be sentenced to the maximum number of years in prison.”

Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher speaking after the deliberation; Video credit: Honenu
At the deliberation at which the mother of the terrorist was convicted, the President of the Military Court stated that reports by members of a family that one of them intends to carry out an attack are of great importance, and explained that the fact that she tried to dissuade her son from his intentions was insufficient. In the end the President of the Military Court ruled that “There was nothing in her actions that was likely to prevent her son from implementing his plot, and therefore she should be convicted of the act attributed to her.”

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