The IDF’s military prosecution on Thursday charged five soldiers with beating two Arab detainees they were guarding, after the two were arrested for aiding in a deadly terror attack that left two people dead and two more wounded.
The five soldiers in the Haredi Netzach Yehudah Brigade were indicted by the military court for the offenses of aggravated abuse and severe injury under aggravated circumstances.
According to the indictment, the five beat the detainees while they were bound and blindfolded, using their fists and other blunt objects to commit the offenses.
The offenses allegedly occurred after the soldiers arrested the two suspects who were involved in the murder of two of their comrades in the attack at Givat Assaf.
The two Arab detainees are charged with assisting Asim Barghouti, who participated in the shooting attack at a bus stop outside Givat Assaf on Dec. 13. In that attack, Staff Sergeant Yuval Mor Yosef, 20, and Staff Sergeant Yosef Cohen, 19 were murdered.
The military prosecution requested that the soldiers’ detention be extended until the end of the proceedings in their case, and is seeking a 10-month prison sentence for the five defendants.
Two of the soldiers are also being charged with the offense of obstructing the justice after they allegedly compared their account of the incident before giving testimony.
The troops’ commander is currently being held in open custody on an IDF base. A decision in his case will be made separately.
Member of Knesset Betzalel Smotrich slammed the military for indicting the troops, saying that turning the soldiers into criminals endangers lives and harms security.
“The IDF’s Military Advocate General has again lost its common sense and is harming the IDF” Smotrich charged.
He said that the criminal indictment of the troops, “who saw their dead friends bodies and who participated in the arrest of those who helped the terrorist, is an unacceptable fallacy.”
“The soldiers we send to fight against a cruel enemy are worthy of our backing, even if they erred, and should not be abandoned in the name of distorted legal morality. Even if the fighters had mistaken, it can be dealt with in disciplinary and not criminal proceedings,” he said.
He further asserted that this case is far from being a criminal one, “even if unjustified violence was used by the fighters against those who helped murder their comrades in arms.”