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Convictions upheld for Israelis who tortured, murdered Palestinian teenager

Yosef Haim Ben-David, 31, was sentenced to life for killing 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir [AFP]

Date of publication: 8 February, 2018

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Israel's supreme court has upheld the life sentence handed to the ringleader in the brutal killing of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir in 2014.

Israel's supreme court rejected on Thursday an appeal by three members of a Jewish gang convicted of kidnapping, beating and burning alive a Palestinian teenager in 2014.

Life sentences for two of them were upheld, as well as a 21-year jail term for the third over the brutal attack, part of spiralling violence in the lead up to the 2014 Gaza war.

Yosef Haim Ben-David, an Israeli settler, was charged with leading the assault on 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir, in a case that shocked the world.

The two others convicted were minors at the time of the crime. Ben-David's claim of insanity was rejected, and was 31 years old when sentenced to life behind bars in May 2016.

He was also told to pay 150,000 shekels ($39,000, 34,000 euros) to Abu Khdeir's family.

Abu Khdeir's father welcomed the court's decision, but again called for the assailants' homes to be demolished as Israel routinely does for Palestinian attackers.

"These people are like Nazis," Hussein Abu Khdeir told journalists outside the courtroom after the decision was announced.

Abu Khdeir was kidnapped by Ben-David and two young accomplices from east Jerusalem on July 2, 2014 and beaten.

His burned body was found hours later in a forest in the western part of the city.

A forensic report showed smoke in his lungs, indicating he had been alive when set alight.

The brutal murder in 2014 shocked Israelis and Palestinians alike, and was part of the escalation in violence that culminated in the 51-day Gaza war that summer in which more than 2,000 Palestinians were killed.

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