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Thursday Jan. 27, 2011 7:40 PM (EST+7)
No jail for Israeli soldier who shot Palestinian

Read more: Nil‘in, impunity, Israeli soldier, foot, protester

JERUSALEM, Jan 27 (Reuters) - An Israeli military court on Thursday issued suspended prison sentences to a soldier and his commanding officer over the 2008 shooting of a blindfolded Palestinian detainee in the occupied West Bank.

Staff Sergeant Leonardo Koria shot Ashraf Abu Rahma in the foot at point-blank range with a rubber-coated metal bullet as his commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Omri Borberg, stood close by holding Abu Rahma by the arm.

The central military court in Tel Aviv ordered a suspended three-month custodial sentence for Borberg and recommended he not be considered for promotion for the coming two years and not serve in a commanding role for a year.

Koria, who has since ended his compulsory military service, was demoted to the rank of private and received a six month suspended custodial sentence, the three-judge panel said in their verdict.

I am pleased that the ordeal has ended after two and a half years ... I accept fully the verdict of the court of my part in the incident and that I did not give the order to shoot at any stage, Borberg said afer the court hearing.

The incident came to light shortly after the June 2008 incident in amateur video footage that showed Koria shooting at the ground right next to the foot of Abu Rahma as Borberg stood close by.

Abu Rahma was not seriously hurt. Borberg and Koria said they had intended only to frighten him during a protest in the Palestinian village of Nilin against the construction of Israel's security barrier in the West Bank.

Palestinians and human rights organizations have long complained that Israel military authorities refrain from taking legal action against soldiers suspected of mistreating Palestinians.

The video of the Nilin shooting which had been filmed by an activist of the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem was broadcast widely by Israeli television channels.






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