Light penalty for severe beating

Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher; Photo credit: Honenu

Tuesday, March 9, 2021, 13:38 In a plea bargain agreement, the Jerusalem Magistrates Court ruled that an Arab resident of East Jerusalem who admitted to beating a Jew and whipping him with his belt will serve only three months of community service, which will be reduced by the number of days he was held in remand. Additionally, the assailant will pay 2,000 NIS in compensation to the complainant.
The incident occurred approximately two years ago in the Old City of Jerusalem. The complainant, who was wearing a kippa and a tallit, ran down Via Dolorosa. The brother of the defendant, who is a minor, cursed the complainant, and a conversation between them ensued. Other people started to gather around them, then a violent clash broke out, and the minor beat the complainant.
The bill of indictment describes the incident: “Then, the defendant jumped out and punched the complainant, as he attempted to protect himself. The defendant’s brother joined the defendant and continued to viciously beat the complainant. The complainant attempted to escape, but the defendant and his brother did not release their grip and punched him again.”
After that, “The defendant pulled his belt out of his pants and used it to whip the complainant several times. Many additional people, whose identities are not known, arrived on the scene, shielded the complainant with their bodies, and distanced the defendant and his brother [from the complainant] by holding them and dragging them to another place.”
The defendant was convicted of causing injury, three small wounds on the complainant’s shoulders, a scratch, swelling, and abrasions on his neck. Despite the severity of the act, Jerusalem Magistrates Court Judge Eitan Cohen ruled that the defendant would serve three months community service in a psychiatric hospital and pay only 2,000 NIS in compensation to the complainant.
Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher: “Unfortunately the verdict does not adequately reflect the severity of the incident, for this was a genuine attempt to kill the victim of the crime, who suffers from many pains and has a scarred soul, as he testified in court. From the start, the assailant was not accused of a nationalistic motive, which surprised us, but in any event, it is obvious to anyone with any sense that the attack was carried out against the complainant by several Arabs because he is Jewish. We would expect a penalty of an active prison term of at least a year, as requested by the prosecution. We hoped for a penalty that would deter attacks, in order to eradicate antisemitic violence from Jerusalem.”

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