Jewish teen sentenced to life in prison in Abu Khdeir murder, second teen gets 21 years

Mohammed Abu Khdeir was kidnapped from his eastern Jerusalem neighbourhood on July 2, 2014 and murdered in a suspected revenge attack by Jewish extremists angered by the abduction and murders of three Israeli teens. (Flash 90)

Mohammed Abu Khdeir was kidnapped from his eastern Jerusalem neighbourhood on July 2, 2014 and murdered in a suspected revenge attack by Jewish extremists angered by the abduction and murders of three Israeli teens. (Flash 90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) – A Jewish teen was sentenced to life in prison and a second teen to 21 years in prison for kidnapping and murdering a Palestinian teen by burning him to death in the Jerusalem Forest.

The sentences were handed down Thursday afternoon in Jerusalem District court, where they were found guilty in November.

The teens have not been identified because they were minors at the time of the crime.

One of the teens was convicted of attempted aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault, attempted arson, murder and abduction for the sake of murder. The other was convicted of murder and abduction for the sake of murder.

A third defendant, Yosef Haim Ben-David, 31, of the Adam settlement in the West Bank, was also found by the court to have carried out the crimes for which he was accused, but delayed issuing a sentence while it considers the last-minute submission of an insanity claim, which says Ben-David was not responsible for his actions at the time of the kidnapping and murder. Ben-David has a history of mental illness and has been under medication for his condition, the original indictment said. His case reportedly will be considered in court on Feb. 11.

Mohammed Abu Khdeir, 16, of eastern Jerusalem, was beaten unconscious and then burned to death in the Jerusalem Forest on July 2, 2014, to avenge the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens the previous month, Ben-David told police at the time of his arrest.

The father of Mohammed Abu Khdeir reportedly asked during a closed sentencing hearing last month that the court destroy their homes as they would for a Palestinian terrorist.

“Demolish their houses, just as happens with Arabs,” Hussein Abu Khdeir said. “There should be equal penalties.”

He made the request again in court during Thursday’s sentencing, and said that the family will appeal the 21-year sentence for one of the minors as too lenient.

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