Four years after his arrest, a military court on Thursday imposed two cumulative life sentences and 40 years in prison on Muhammad Zakarneh, who had been convicted of recruiting and controlling the terrorists who carried out an attack in which the late Gregory Rabinovitch, a taxi driver, was murdered on May 10, 2009. The court also ordered Zakarneh to pay $140,000 in damages and a fine of $14,000.
Zakarne, who was arrested in 2013—after his three minions had been caught and tried in 2010, was recently convicted of intentionally causing death, an offense equivalent to murder, for planning the attack, recruiting the members of the cell, activating and instructing them. He was also convicted of involvement in the murder of an Arab he suspected of collaborating with Israel, and of 37 other security offenses.
The body of taxi driver Gregory Rabinovitch, 55, of Ashdod, was discovered in 2009 in a field near Gan Yavneh. The three terrorists, who were sentenced to life imprisonment in 2010, led Rabinovitch to a side road where they beat him brutally and robbed him of his money. During the attack they decided to murder their victim, tied him with his shoelaces and put it in the trunk of his car. They then strangled with a rope around his neck and stuffed his mouth with scraps of cloth until he suffocated.
The IDF spokesman issued a statement ahead of Zakarneh’s trial, saying “the IDF shares the sorrow of the Rabinovitch family and will continue to fully prosecute the terrorists.”