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‘Charges toughened against IDF officer in shooting of bound Palestinian’


21 July 2009

Israel’s Military Advocate General, Brig. Gen. Avichai Mandelblit, on Tuesday ordered tougher charges against an Israel Defense Forces officer who presided over the shooting of a bound and blindfolded Palestinian detainee.

Lt. Col. Omri Borberg and his soldier, known as Staff Sgt. L., were formally charged with “improper conduct” over the incident, which took place in the West Bank village of Na’alin last September.

But in early July, the High Court ordered Mandelblit to reconsider the indictment against the pair. The advocate general subsequently decided to charge Borberg with intimidation, and the soldier with having made unlawful use of a weapon.

“Following the High Court decision, the Military Advocate General conducted extensive consultations regarding the matter with the Attorney General of Israel and the State Attorney,” the IDF said in a statement.

“After the consultations, a decision was made on the basis of the the opinions of the Attorney General and State Attorney, and today, the modified indictment was served.”

Following the amendment to the indictment, legal proceedings against the pair will have to begin anew.

The victim, Ashraf Abu Rahmeh, 27, was not seriously hurt in the incident, in which he was shot in the foot with a rubber bullet.

He was detained during a protest against the construction of Israel’s security fence in the West Bank.

The soldier and officer said they had intended only to frighten him.