Israeli policeman jailed for killing Palestinian teen

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Posters showing 17-year-old Palestinian Nadim Nuwara, who was killed during a protest in 2014Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Nadim Nuwara was shot in the chest with a live round during a protest

An Israeli court has jailed a former border policeman for shooting dead a teenage Palestinian protester in 2014.

Ben Deri was given a nine-month term for killing 17-year-old Nadim Nuwara during a protest at the Beitunia checkpoint in the occupied West Bank.

Deri pleaded guilty to causing death by negligence after prosecutors dropped the charge of manslaughter.

It is rare for Israeli security forces to be imprisoned in connection with the deaths of Palestinian protesters.

A second teenager – Muhammad Abu Thahr, 16 – was killed at the same protest, but Israeli prosecutors said there was insufficient evidence to pursue any charges.

During the protest, which took place on 15 May 2014, several dozen Palestinians threw stones towards Israeli security forces deployed at the Beitunia checkpoint.

However, Nuwara was shot in the chest after the stone-throwing had stopped, according to a court statement published on Wednesday.

“Contrary to regulations, and despite the fact that the deceased posed no threat to the [Israeli] unit, the defendant aimed his weapon at the torso of the deceased and fired at the deceased with the intent of injuring him,” the statement said.

Image copyright DCI
Image caption Nadim Nuwara (left) was filmed by CCTV cameras shortly before being shot

Prosecutors originally charged Deri with manslaughter, accusing him of deliberately switching his rubber bullets for the live round that killed Nuwara. But the amended indictment, to which he pleaded guilty, said the switch as accidental.

Video of the incident was published by the human rights group Defence for Children International, which said the footage proved that Nuwara and Abu Thahr had posed no threat and been killed unlawfully.

The judge said Deri’s action was “severe” and that the “degree of negligence was significant and warranted prison time”, according to the Haaretz newspaper.

He handed Deri a nine-month prison term, an additional six-month suspended sentence, and ordered him to pay $14,000 (£10,000) in damages.

Nuwara’s father Issam criticised the Israeli criminal justice process, saying he was surprised that Deri had not been convicted of manslaughter and given a tougher punishment.

“This is not how justice is done,” he told Reuters news agency.

“I never expected the Israeli court to do justice for my martyred son, but I had to do all I could to present a solid case and to expose the Israeli judicial system before the world and I did.”

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