Israeli Supreme Court upholds sentence for the torture and murder of Palestinian teen, Abu Khdeir

Nathan Schmidt / Bethlehem

The Israeli Supreme Court on Thursday rejected an appeal by Yosef Haim Ben David to challenge his sentence of life in prison plus 20 years.

The sentence was passed down by the Jerusalem District Court in 2016 for the coordinated kidnapping, torture, and subsequent murder of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir, in 2014. Abu Khdeir had been abducted from East Jerusalem, burnt and beaten, before being murdered and left in the Jerusalem forest.

The previous day an attempt had been made to kidnap a 7-year-old boy from Beit Hanina in which the boy had been throttled and his mother beaten.

Ben David, 29, had orchestrated the kidnapping in an apparent act of revenge for the death of three Israelis earlier that year.

During the initial trial, Ben David had repeatedly proclaimed himself the ‘messiah’ amidst a last-minute attempt by his lawyers to question his sanity, and as such his accountability for his actions.

The plea of insanity was rejected as ‘fantasy’ in 2016 and now again in 2018.

Ben David was the ring leader of the operation which included two Israeli minors who’s sentences the Supreme Court also upheld, though their names are withheld by law due to their age.

The two minors, 16 and 17 years of age, received 21 years and life imprisonment respectively for their part in the kidnapping and torture while their lawyers argued that the pair were unaware of Ben David’s intention to murder Abu Khdeir.

Abu Khdeir’s death sparked a wave of protests throughout Palestine.