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Shamgar Asks Punishment for Rohan Despite Mental Illness Aspect of His Case

Attorney General Meir Shamgar today demanded punishment for Denis Michael William Rohan, the Australian sheepherder who has confessed to burning the Al Aksa Mosque in East Jerusalem last Aug. 21. Mr. Shamgar said that Israeli courts do not recognize mental illness as automatically absolving a criminal from guilt and responsibility for his acts. The defense has claimed that Rohan was mentally ill at the time of his offense and is therefore not punishable under Israeli law. His mental illness was confirmed by several psychiatrists who testified both for the defense and the State. But Mr. Shamgar noted that Rohan admitted during the trial that he was aware that his act was contrary to Israeli law and that he must bear responsibility for it.