Ringleader in murder of Palestinian teen ruled mentally fit for sentencing

Julie Wiener

Police escorting Yosef Haim Ben-David, one of the three Jewish suspects in the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, in the Disctrict Court in Jerusalem, Nov. 30, 2015 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Police escorting Yosef Ben-David, one of the three Jewish suspects in the murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, in Jerusalem District Court, Nov. 30, 2015 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90)

(JTA) — The Jewish-Israeli man who was convicted of organizing the revenge murder of a Palestinian teenager in 2014 was ruled mentally fit to be sentenced.

An Israeli court ruled Monday that Yosef Ben-David, 31, of the West Bank settlement Adam, can be sentenced, Israel’s Channel 2 reported. Ben-David was convicted of the murder along with two minors in November.

His insanity plea, which claimed he should not be held responsible for his actions at the time of the kidnapping and murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, noted that he has a history of mental illness and has been under medication for his condition.

The names of Ben-David’s accomplices, who were both 16 at the time of the killing, have not been released publicly.

The three kidnapped Khdeir, then beat and burned him alive in the Jerusalem Forest in July 2014. The crime took place soon after the bodies of three Jewish teens who had been kidnapped and murdered by the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas were found in the West Bank.

Ben-David’s accomplices were sentenced earlier this month: one to life in prison, the other to 21 years.

Khdeir’s father, Hussein Abu Khdeir, has said the family plans to appeal the 21-year sentence as too lenient. He has also requested that the court demolish the killers’ homes as they have for a Palestinian terrorist.

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