TEL AVIV (Dec. 19)
Four Arab youths of East Jerusalem received life prison terms yesterday from a military tribunal which found them guilty of throwing hand grenades in Jerusalem on Aug. 18, during what later became known as “The Night of Grenades.” and with placing explosives in the Tel Aviv Bus depot on Sept. 4. The judgments were unanimous.
The tribunal rejected a plea of defense counsel that the defendants should be regarded as prisoners of war in accordance with the Geneva Convention and thus not subject to criminal prosecution for their actions. The Israeli judges cited each Geneva Convention clause, declaring that none applied to the defendants, who they ruled, acted with intent to hurt civilians. The judges noted that the defendants were not members of an army, had no commanding officers and wore no uniforms.
The four Arabs – Chassam Abdul Latif Kamel, 18; Sawim Kaled Houseiba, 20; Ahmed Mouhamed Muneimar, 19; and Mrwab Abu Hard, 19 – were sentenced to an additional 10 years imprisonment for participation in a “hostile organization.” Latif Kamel was given an additional 20 years for possession of hand grenades when he was captured. Terms are to run concurrently, and the defendants have two weeks to appeal.
The youths were not present when the sentences were handed down. They had been given permission to speak in connection with the sentencing but they used the occasion to make an effort to start a political statement. The court ordered them to stop. When the defendants ignored the order, they were removed from the courtroom.