Jewish teen sentenced to life, accomplice to 21 years in killing of Palestinian 16-year-old


JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Jewish teen was sentenced to life in prison and a second teen to 21 years for kidnapping and murdering a Palestinian teen by burning him to death.

The sentences were handed down Thursday afternoon in Jerusalem District Court, where the teens were found guilty in November. They have not been identified because they were minors at the time of the killing of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, 16, of eastern Jerusalem.

One of the teens was convicted of attempted aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault, attempted arson, murder and abduction for the sake of murder. The other was convicted of murder and abduction for the sake of murder.

A third defendant, Yosef Haim Ben-David, 31, of the Adam settlement in the West Bank, was also found to have carried out the crimes for which he was accused, but the court delayed issuing a sentence while it considers the last-minute submission of an insanity plea claiming that Ben-David was not responsible for his actions at the time of the kidnapping and murder. Ben-David has a history of mental illness and has been under medication for his condition, the original indictment said. His case reportedly will be considered in court on Feb. 11.

Khdeir was beaten unconscious before he was burned to death in the Jerusalem Forest on July 2, 2014, to avenge the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens the previous month, Ben-David told police at the time of his arrest.

At the court hearing, Khdeir’s father said the family will appeal the 21-year sentence for one of the minors as too lenient. Hussein Abu Khdeir also repeated the request he made last month at a closed sentencing hearing that the court demolish the killers’ homes as they would for a Palestinian terrorist.

“There should be equal penalties,” he said last month.

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