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Israeli soldier will not face murder charge over killing of Palestinian

A 19-year-old army medic allegedly caught on camera 'executing' Palestinian attacker to be charged with manslaughter, court rules
A still from the footage shows an Israeli soldier cocking his gun before firing at the injured man (YouTube)

The Israeli soldier filmed apparently shooting a Palestinian man in the head as he lay on the ground will face a charge of manslaughter rather than murder, a military tribunal ruled on Thursday.

While manslaughter is considered the act of killing someone without malice or in circumstances not amounting to murder, a murder must be premeditated and carried out with intent. 

The 19-year-old soldier – who was working as an army medic - was taken into custody last week after footage filmed by a Palestinian activist appeared to show him fatally shooting an injured Palestinian as he lay on the ground after attempting to stab soldiers.

Lawyers said earlier this week that they were considering a range of potential charges for the soldier, including murder, manslaughter and “causing death through negligence,” Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

The suspect has told investigators that he shot the man, named locally as Abed al-Fatah al-Sharif, because he feared for his safety.

However, lawyers have cast doubt on this suggestion, citing witnesses who testified that the soldier has said the injured man “deserved to die” before opening fire.

A court on Tuesday said the video footage of the shooting was “inconclusive,” and that there is “reasonable doubt…given the complexity” of the attempted stabbing and the death by gunshot that followed.