The Jerusalem District Court on Wednesday sentenced former border policeman Ben Dery to nine months in prison.
Ben Dery was convicted in a plea bargain for his operational activity to curb mass disturbances during the 2014 Nakba Day riots near the town of Bitunya, a suburb of Ramallah some 9 miles north of Jerusalem. During the riot, Dery shot and killed one of the rioters, Nadim Navarra, 17, at the Bitunya checkpoint.
Dery was also given a six months suspended sentence and he must pay Navarra’s family $14,000 in damages.
The two months during which Dery was held in detention will be deducted from his prison time.
When reading the verdict, Judge Daniel Teperberg said that “the defendant’s act is serious,” and that “the threshold of his negligence is high and requires actual imprisonment.” However, the judge sentenced Dery to the relatively short prison time due to his cooperation with the investigation, the plea bargain, his clean record, the fact that he had been under electronic supervision for a year, and the fact that, according to the judge, Derry “was an outstanding policeman, took care of his subordinates, and was praised by his circle as a man and as a friend.”
Attorney Zion Amir, who was hired by the Honenu legal aid society to represent Dery, said, “On the one hand, I am very happy about the moderate punishment, but at the same time, I was not in complete agreement with my client’s desire to reach a plea bargain. We believed that the totality of evidence in this case should have resulted in complete acquittal.”
Honenu issued a statement saying: “It is a shame that a fighter who was there to defend all of us finds himself sent to a long prison term. Once again, the system is confused between enemy and friend.”