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21 Jul

Bound Palestinian shooting reexamined

Ashraf abu Rahma is seen moments before being shot

in this stills image from a B’Tselem video.

THE JERUSALEM POST, Jul. 22, 2009

Article

Lt.-Col. Omri Burbag, the battalion commander who allegedly ordered a soldier to shoot a handcuffed and blindfolded Palestinian stone-thrower in Ni’ilin on July 7, has been handed an amended indictment which now includes a charge of making threats.

Initially, Judge Advocate General Brig.-Gen. Avihai Mandelblit had charged Burbag, commander of Armored Battalion 71, only with inappropriate military conduct, a relatively light offense. However, the latest charge is criminal, and can carry a sentence of up to three years in prison.

The decision to change the indictment comes after the High Court of Justice ruled that the original charge sheet was too lenient.

The shooting took place on the outskirts of Ni’ilin, east of Modi’in Illit, where demonstrators have been holding daily protests, often violent, against construction of the West Bank security barrier. In the incident, soldiers imposed a curfew and fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse rioters.

Burbag was caught on video leading the blindfolded and handcuffed Palestinian to a military jeep, where the soldier was then seen raising his weapon and discharging a shot. The soldier claimed that Burbag had ordered him to fire, but the officer initially told investigators that all he had told the soldier to do was “shake his gun” to scare the detainee.

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