Arab Villagers Charged with Lynching

Nearly 100 residents of Kabatiya village in the West Bank have been accused in Nablus military court of constituting a lynch mob responsible for the death of a fellow villager, who allegedly cooperated with the Israeli authorities.

Formal charges were brought against 47 of the suspects Wednesday and 48 more are to be charged Thursday. They were brought into the courtroom in groups of five. All pleaded not guilty.

The victim, Mohammad Ayed Zakarani, 29, died Feb. 24. According to the charge sheet, a crowd of about 1,000 villagers set fire to his house, driving him outside, where he was beaten to death with an axe and hanged from a utility pole.

Some of the defense lawyers claim their clients were not present at the lynching. Others say the charge sheet is unclear, and several argued that Zakarani died of a heart attack.

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