IDF investigator’s testimony backs soldier’s version

Several important details came out on Thursday at the Qastina military court, during the hearing on an extension of the detention of the soldier who last Thursday shot a wounded Arab terrorist.

During the hearing the military prosecutor Lt. Col. Adoram Rigler dropped the murder charges against the soldier, and instead accused him of manslaughter while asking for a seven day extension of his arrest.

An officer in the army's Criminal Investigations Department (CID) was put on the stand during the hearing, where he made statements seemingly backing the soldier's version of events. 

The soldier has argued he shot the terrorist – who minutes earlier together with an accomplice stabbed and wounded a soldier – over concerns he was moving to detonate a bomb belt that was thought to be hidden under his unseasonably thick coat. That version of events was vindicated by a Magen David Adom (MDA) investigative committee.

Eyal Beserglick, one of the defense attorneys for the soldier, questioned the CID officer on the stand about whether or not there were concerns that the terrorist had a bomb belt on his body.

"The terrorist wasn't acquitted," said the officer, using terminology indicating that there had been no confirmation that the terrorist was not hiding an explosive at the time when the soldier shot him.

"There (were) suspicions of a combined incident with a knife and an explosive?," asked Beserglick, to which the officer confirmed there were indeed such suspicions.

Afterwards the attorney tried to press the point, asking, "does that mean that according to the testimonies there was a potential situation in which everyone could have been blown up?" The officer shied away from drawing the conclusion, stating, "I don't want to mislead."

The officer also described how at the scene contradictory statements were heard, saying, "the soldiers and the civilians, some of them said, 'call up a bomb sapper,' some of them said, 'don't call one up.'"

"You haven't checked the B'Tselem video?"

Earlier in the hearing the military prosecutor said that in the video filmed by an Arab activist for the radical leftist NGO B'Tselem, the soldier can be seen calmly cocking his weapon and shooting the terrorist in the head.

Rigler added that other soldiers stood near the terrorist, which he claimed showed the terrorist was not viewed as an active threat.

The prosecutor said that when the soldier's commander asked him why he shot the terrorist, he responded: "the terrorist is alive, he should have died." The prosecutor added that another soldier testified that the soldier said, "they stabbed my friend, he also deserves to die."

Regiment commander Lt. Col. David Shapira said that after he heard the soldier's version of events he did not believe them, according to the prosecutor, who asked to keep the soldier under arrest even if the investigation against him concludes.

For his part, Beserglick asked if the remaining investigation involves an investigation of the B'Tselem video, to which he was told that it does.

"Does that mean that up until now you didn't check if the video was edited?," responded Beserglick, to which the investigator said the video was transferred to the Division of Identification and Forensic Science (DIFS), but there are additional videos which need to be checked.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/210153

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