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High Court endorses keeping ex-IDF soldier jailed for trial on M-16 theft



High Court of Justice prepares for hearing on whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can form the next government, May 3, 2020
(photo credit: COURTESY HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE)

It is rare that IDF soldiers are held in detention for the full duration of their trials, which can run several months or much longer, and especially rare in cases of theft.

Supreme Court Justice Daphne Barak-Erez on Wednesday approved an unusual lower court decision to keep a former IDF soldier in detention until his full trial concludes on charges for stealing weapons.

It is rare that IDF soldiers are held in detention for the full duration of their trials, which can run several months or much longer, and especially rare in cases of theft.
Usually, holding soldiers in detention is limited to cases of violent crimes, where there is some kind of strong suspicion that the offender may try to flee the country.
The fact that the July 13 detention order by the Beersheba District Court was so unusual was part of what led to the appeal to the Supreme Court.
When Hebron shooter Elor Azaria was kept in detention for shooting and killing a Palestinian, even that was considered highly controversial and eventually he was allowed to roam freely on his army base, though he could not leave the base itself.
Amjad al-Kriani was still an IDF soldier in March when he illegally accessed an IDF base in the South to perform surveillance and assist co-conspirators Daoud of Rahat, and Muhammad, from the West Bank, in stealing IDF M-16s.
To facilitate the plot, Kriani described to his co-conspirators how to sneak into the base undetected, where the weapons storage was located and took pictures of the base and the weapons to further assist them.
On April 13 around 4:00 a.m., the co-conspirators tried to break into the base to steal the weapons.
They were stopped by two IDF guards they encountered, although the co-conspirators struck one of the guards before fleeing the scene.
In May, Kriani and three others were indicted for the plot to steal and sell the IDF weapons.
Despite a social services recommendation that keeping Kriani, age 19, in detention could harm his future development, the Supreme Court found that, “one cannot underestimate the danger associated with the charges attributed to him.”
“The starting point is the obvious severity of weapons-related crimes… but it does not stop there,” adding that Kriani’s actions clearly could have led to “harming innocents and even led to a conflict with two soldiers.”
Finally, the court added that Kriani appeared to be the initiator of the scheme, another fact which signaled that he was dangerous and could not be released to house arrest pending the outcome of the trial.

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