Honenu objects to light sentence for Beit Jala terrorist

Aharon Heller; Photo courtesy of Heller

Thursday, July 29, 2021, 9:03 Judges at the Ofer Military Court in Yehuda sentenced Sallama resident Ahmad Nafaz Muhammad to fifteen and a half years’ imprisonment, despite a demand by the Military Advocate General that an active prison sentence of 19-25 years be handed down to the terrorist. Muhammad stabbed Aharon Heller in a November 2018 attack outside of a supermarket in Beit Jala. Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher, who is representing Heller, objected to the sentence.
In their decision, the judges wrote that Muhammad was convicted of intentional homicide, the equivalent of murder in a military court and added that “the defendant acted against social values including sanctity of life, the fundamental rights to physical integrity and mental and human dignity, alongside maintaining public order and the security of the area.
“The charges of which the defendant was convicted are severe and serious. The defendant reached a decision to bring about the death of the victim of terror, solely because he was a Jew.” The damages caused to Heller and his family as a result of the attack were specified.
However, despite their censure of Muhammad actions, the judges found it correct to impose a lenient penalty on the terrorist for several reasons. He had not equipped himself with a knife ahead of time and the type of knife he used is significant. The judges also considered the outcome of the act and the young age of the terrorist, which was at the time of the attack only a few months over the age of 18.
Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher, who is representing Heller, strongly criticized the decision. “We were absolutely shocked by the sentence, which was extremely lenient, to a terrorist who attempted and decisively acted to murder a Jew only because he is a Jew.
“Instead of the Ofer Military Court fulfilling its role in the war on terror, the judges weakened the deterrence factor against terrorists and increased the danger to Israeli citizens. We ask the Military Advocate General to appeal this sentence and we expect the military appellate court to rectify the injustice and impose a penalty of over 20 years’ imprisonment on the terrorist, as the law advises.”

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