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Israeli ringleader sentenced to 45 years in prison for murder of Abu Khdeir

May 3, 2016 10:17 P.M. (Updated: May 4, 2016 4:37 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- The leading suspect in the brutal death of 16-year-old Palestinian Muhammad Abu Khdeir was sentenced to life in prison and an additional 20 years on Tuesday, 15 years short of what the prosecution had demanded.

An Israeli court sentenced Yosef Ben-David -- the ringleader responsible for kidnapping and burning the teen alive in July 2014 -- to a total of 45 years in prison, and also ordered him to pay 150,000 shekels ($39,756) to Abu Khdeir’s family.

Muhannad Jubara, the lawyer of Abu Khdeir family, told Ma’an that the Jerusalem district prosecution had demanded the court sentence Ben-David for a total of 60 years in prison.

The sentence sought by the prosecution included a 25-year sentence for the murder of Abu Khdeir, 20 years for kidnapping him, 12 years for attempting to kidnap the another Palestinian child the day before Abu Khdeir’s murder -- Moussa Abu Zalloum from the Beit Hanina neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem -- and three additional years for his previous record of torching Palestinian vehicles.

Jubara added the prosecution had also demanded Ben-David pay 228,000 shekels ($60,429) to Abu Khdeir's family.

Ben David was convicted of murder on April 19, after the court rejected insanity pleas presented his lawyers.

Following the conviction, which came after nearly two years of delay, Abu Khdeir’s parents demanded Israeli authorities give their son’s killer a life sentence and demolish his home, in line with an official Israeli policy carried out against Palestinians who kill Israelis.

Two Israeli minors who assisted in killing Muhammad were convicted of murder in February, one receiving a life sentence and the other 21 years in prison. While Ben-David admitted to carrying out the crime, he repeatedly escaped conviction after seeking a last minute psychiatric evaluation.

Muhammad, a 16-year-old from Shufat in occupied East Jerusalem, was kidnapped and murdered by the three extremists in July 2014.

All three confessed to beating the teenager unconscious before pouring flammable liquid on him and setting him alight. An autopsy later confirmed the teen had been burned alive.

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