(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)

Today, August 11, 2005, the IDF Southern District military court sentenced Sergeant Taysir Hayb to 11 and a half years, of which he will serve 8 years and a suspended 3 and a half year sentence, after being convicted of manslaughter following the death of British national Tom Hurndall. The soldier was found guilty of five additional counts, including two counts of obstruction of justice, and one count of submission of false information, solicitation to submit false information, and conduct unbecoming a soldier.

On April 11, 2003, Hurndall, an activist of the International Solidarity Movement, was wounded by a shot fired by the soldier, Sergeant Taysir Hayb, along the Israeli-Egyptian border near Rafah. On June 27, 2005 the military court found that the soldier fired a single shot, intentionally, at a point near Hurdall’s head, in complete contravention of the rules of engagement. Hurndall was wounded as a result of the shot fired, and died of his wounds several months later, on January 13, 2004.

The court found that the defendant fabricated a series of events in an attempt to cover up his actions and absolve himself of responsibility for the shooting and its consequences. Immediately after the incident he reported a made-up incident, concealed the truth during the field investigation conducted by the battalion and brigade commander, and tried to solicit another soldier to support his false rendition of events.

The court found the soldier’s action to be very severe, and in contravention of the values of the IDF, foremost among them the sanctity of life. The judges said in the sentencing: "We have taken many aspects into consideration, both in favor of the defendant and against him, but foremost among them is the sanctity of life and that is what will guide us with regard to the punishment. The court must send a clear message that, despite the period of murderous terror attacks in Israel, and although the soldiers (stationed along the border in the area of Rafah) may find themselves the most dangerous area of combat, serving with determination in a position that may endanger their lives, IDF soldiers must use their weapons and exert their potentially lethal force only when such an extent is required for the completion of their mission and never beyond that.

They must take every measure within their power to prevent any harm to human life, person or dignity.

The military prosecution will further study this sentencing and will consider filing an appeal in accordance.

Summary of Sgt. Taysir Hayb sentence given today by the Southern Command Military Court

Today, August 11, 2005, the district Military Court of the Southern Command sentenced IDF soldier Sergeant Taysir Hayb. Sgt. Hayb has been convicted of manslaughter in the death of ISM activist Tom Hurndall and additional counts including obstruction of justice, providing false information and conduct unbecoming.

A panel of judges headed by the President of the Military Court Colonel Nir Aviram, Lt. Col. (res.) Avi Zamir and Major Manor Shprits (Ph.D) sentenced the defendant to 11 and a half years, of which he will serve 8 years and a suspended 3 and a half year sentence.

The details of the sentence outline the Military Court’s considerations in its deliberations regarding the sentencing and take into account previous rulings of the Israeli Supreme Court and other military and civilian courts.

The following are excerpts from the sentence handed down by the Military Court:

"On Friday afternoon, April 11, 2003, as Sgt. Taysir was serving as the commander of a watch tower securing the "Philadelphi" route near Rafah, during days of intensive combat, after being left alone on shift, he fired a single unnecessary shot, an illegal shot, into the distance at an innocent man. The man, Tom Hurndall, was shot in the head and suffered severe brain damage, lay in a vegetative state for a subsequent nine months after the incident…"

 "The defendant fabricated a series of events in an attempt to cover up his actions and absolve himself of responsibility for the shooting and its consequences. Immediately after the incident he reported a falsified incident via the communication system and further concealed the truth during the field investigation conducted by the battalion and brigade commanders. In addition to this he attempted to solicit another soldier, Sgt. Attauna, to support his false rendition of the events. His efforts to obstruct the investigation continued throughout the Military Police investigation, in which the turning point occurred when Sgt. Attauna revealed the actual sequence of events to the investigators."

In their sentencing the judges stressed the severity of the defendant’s crime, which is in complete contravention of IDF ethical values and the absolute value of the sanctity of human life: "Today the court deliberated the various aspects of the case, giving singular consideration the absolute value placed on human life, when deciding upon the appropriate sentencing."

The court must send a clear message that, despite the period of murderous terror attacks in Israel, and although the soldiers may find themselves in the most dangerous area of combat, serving with determination in a position that endangers their lives, IDF soldiers must use their weapons and exert these weapons’ potentially lethal force only when such an extent is required for the completion of their mission and never beyond that. They must take every measure within their power to prevent any harm to human life, person or dignity. The judges also noted the difficult circumstances of the defendant’s life and the initial low testing scores he received upon induction into the army.

The court summarized its sentencing as follows: "It is our opinion that the severe sentence is appropriate in accordance with the circumstances surrounding the incident in question and in keeping with the IDF’s obligation to maintain humanity and to condemn any actions which contradict the importance we place on the value of human life… We cannot ignore precedents and previous military court rulings. The defense has quoted Mr. Hunrdall, the father of the victim, who expressed his view that "the defendant has been made into a ‘scapegoat’". Therefore an unduly severe punishment would lend credence to this allegation. In taking into consideration that this is the first incident of its kind in many years, the severity of the crime, the loss of human life and the damage done to the reputation of the State of Israel and the IDF in the eye of the public, we have decided not to sentence the defendant to the maximum possible sentencing.

Rather the court has decided to act proportionately and moderately in this case, yet sentencing the defendant to a severe prison sentence which will act as a deterrent against future incidents."

In addition it will be noted that the soldier’s continuous attempts to obstruct justice have damaged the credibility of the IDF, the veracity of its military investigations and the reliability of its commanding officers. "The IDF, as a result, was branded as an organization condoning a culture of falsehood.

The means by which the court sends this clear message, of intolerance of such incidents, is by this appropriate sentencing." 

Summary of Sgt. Taysir Hayb sentence given today by the Southern Command Military Court

Today, August 11, 2005, the district Military Court of the Southern Command sentenced IDF soldier Sergeant Taysir Hayb. Sgt. Hayb has been convicted of manslaughter in the death of ISM activist Tom Hurndall and additional counts including obstruction of justice, providing false information and conduct unbecoming.

A panel of judges headed by the President of the Military Court Colonel Nir Aviram, Lt. Col. (res.) Avi Zamir and Major Manor Shprits (Ph.D) sentenced the defendant to 11 and a half years, of which he will serve 8 years and a suspended 3 and a half year sentence.

The details of the sentence outline the Military Court’s considerations in its deliberations regarding the sentencing and take into account previous rulings of the Israeli Supreme Court and other military and civilian courts.

The following are excerpts from the sentence handed down by the Military Court:

"On Friday afternoon, April 11, 2003, as Sgt. Taysir was serving as the commander of a watch tower securing the "Philadelphi" route near Rafah, during days of intensive combat, after being left alone on shift, he fired a single unnecessary shot, an illegal shot, into the distance at an innocent man. The man, Tom Hurndall, was shot in the head and suffered severe brain damage, lay in a vegetative state for a subsequent nine months after the incident…"

 "The defendant fabricated a series of events in an attempt to cover up his actions and absolve himself of responsibility for the shooting and its consequences. Immediately after the incident he reported a falsified incident via the communication system and further concealed the truth during the field investigation conducted by the battalion and brigade commanders. In addition to this he attempted to solicit another soldier, Sgt. Attauna, to support his false rendition of the events. His efforts to obstruct the investigation continued throughout the Military Police investigation, in which the turning point occurred when Sgt. Attauna revealed the actual sequence of events to the investigators."

In their sentencing the judges stressed the severity of the defendant’s crime, which is in complete contravention of IDF ethical values and the absolute value of the sanctity of human life: "Today the court deliberated the various aspects of the case, giving singular consideration the absolute value placed on human life, when deciding upon the appropriate sentencing."

The court must send a clear message that, despite the period of murderous terror attacks in Israel, and although the soldiers may find themselves in the most dangerous area of combat, serving with determination in a position that endangers their lives, IDF soldiers must use their weapons and exert these weapons’ potentially lethal force only when such an extent is required for the completion of their mission and never beyond that. They must take every measure within their power to prevent any harm to human life, person or dignity. The judges also noted the difficult circumstances of the defendant’s life and the initial low testing scores he received upon induction into the army.

The court summarized its sentencing as follows: "It is our opinion that the severe sentence is appropriate in accordance with the circumstances surrounding the incident in question and in keeping with the IDF’s obligation to maintain humanity and to condemn any actions which contradict the importance we place on the value of human life… We cannot ignore precedents and previous military court rulings. The defense has quoted Mr. Hunrdall, the father of the victim, who expressed his view that "the defendant has been made into a ‘scapegoat’". Therefore an unduly severe punishment would lend credence to this allegation. In taking into consideration that this is the first incident of its kind in many years, the severity of the crime, the loss of human life and the damage done to the reputation of the State of Israel and the IDF in the eye of the public, we have decided not to sentence the defendant to the maximum possible sentencing.

Rather the court has decided to act proportionately and moderately in this case, yet sentencing the defendant to a severe prison sentence which will act as a deterrent against future incidents."

In addition it will be noted that the soldier’s continuous attempts to obstruct justice have damaged the credibility of the IDF, the veracity of its military investigations and the reliability of its commanding officers. "The IDF, as a result, was branded as an organization condoning a culture of falsehood.

The means by which the court sends this clear message, of intolerance of such incidents, is by this appropriate sentencing." 

Summary of Sgt. Taysir Hayb sentence given today by the Southern Command Military Court

Today, August 11, 2005, the district Military Court of the Southern Command sentenced IDF soldier Sergeant Taysir Hayb. Sgt. Hayb has been convicted of manslaughter in the death of ISM activist Tom Hurndall and additional counts including obstruction of justice, providing false information and conduct unbecoming.

A panel of judges headed by the President of the Military Court Colonel Nir Aviram, Lt. Col. (res.) Avi Zamir and Major Manor Shprits (Ph.D) sentenced the defendant to 11 and a half years, of which he will serve 8 years and a suspended 3 and a half year sentence.

The details of the sentence outline the Military Court’s considerations in its deliberations regarding the sentencing and take into account previous rulings of the Israeli Supreme Court and other military and civilian courts.

The following are excerpts from the sentence handed down by the Military Court:

"On Friday afternoon, April 11, 2003, as Sgt. Taysir was serving as the commander of a watch tower securing the "Philadelphi" route near Rafah, during days of intensive combat, after being left alone on shift, he fired a single unnecessary shot, an illegal shot, into the distance at an innocent man. The man, Tom Hurndall, was shot in the head and suffered severe brain damage, lay in a vegetative state for a subsequent nine months after the incident…"

"The defendant fabricated a series of events in an attempt to cover up his actions and absolve himself of responsibility for the shooting and its consequences. Immediately after the incident he reported a falsified incident via the communication system and further concealed the truth during the field investigation conducted by the battalion and brigade commanders. In addition to this he attempted to solicit another soldier, Sgt. Attauna, to support his false rendition of the events. His efforts to obstruct the investigation continued throughout the Military Police investigation, in which the turning point occurred when Sgt. Attauna revealed the actual sequence of events to the investigators."

In their sentencing the judges stressed the severity of the defendant’s crime, which is in complete contravention of IDF ethical values and the absolute value of the sanctity of human life: "Today the court deliberated the various aspects of the case, giving singular consideration the absolute value placed on human life, when deciding upon the appropriate sentencing."

The court must send a clear message that, despite the period of murderous terror attacks in Israel, and although the soldiers may find themselves in the most dangerous area of combat, serving with determination in a position that endangers their lives, IDF soldiers must use their weapons and exert these weapons’ potentially lethal force only when such an extent is required for the completion of their mission and never beyond that. They must take every measure within their power to prevent any harm to human life, person or dignity. The judges also noted the difficult circumstances of the defendant’s life and the initial low testing scores he received upon induction into the army.

The court summarized its sentencing as follows: "It is our opinion that the severe sentence is appropriate in accordance with the circumstances surrounding the incident in question and in keeping with the IDF’s obligation to maintain humanity and to condemn any actions which contradict the importance we place on the value of human life… We cannot ignore precedents and previous military court rulings. The defense has quoted Mr. Hunrdall, the father of the victim, who expressed his view that "the defendant has been made into a ‘scapegoat’". Therefore an unduly severe punishment would lend credence to this allegation. In taking into consideration that this is the first incident of its kind in many years, the severity of the crime, the loss of human life and the damage done to the reputation of the State of Israel and the IDF in the eye of the public, we have decided not to sentence the defendant to the maximum possible sentencing.

Rather the court has decided to act proportionately and moderately in this case, yet sentencing the defendant to a severe prison sentence which will act as a deterrent against future incidents."

In addition it will be noted that the soldier’s continuous attempts to obstruct justice have damaged the credibility of the IDF, the veracity of its military investigations and the reliability of its commanding officers. "The IDF, as a result, was branded as an organization condoning a culture of falsehood.

The means by which the court sends this clear message, of intolerance of such incidents, is by this appropriate sentencing."