Steve Weizman
The Washington Times
August 8, 2008 - 3:37pm

JERUSALEM (AP) - An officer filmed ordering a soldier to abuse a bound and blindfolded Palestinian prisoner was indicted Thursday and has resigned his command of an army battalion but will continue to serve elsewhere, the Israeli military said.

Lt.Col. Omri Borberg and the soldier were charged in a military court with "unworthy conduct," the military said in a statement.

Borberg asked to be removed from his post in the wake of the July 7 incident on the outskirts of the West Bank village of Naalin when a soldier shot a captured Palestinian demonstrator in the foot with a rubber-coated bullet from close range, the military said. The shooting was captured on video by a local resident and distributed by an Israeli human rights group.

The images show Borberg holding 27-year-old Ashraf Abu Rahmeh by the arm while a soldier, who has not been named, takes aim and fires at the prisoner's foot. Abu Rahmeh suffered a bruised toe.

He was one of several dozen Palestinians who hurled stones at soldiers during a protest against Israel's separation barrier, which is under construction near Naalin and will eventually cut off the village from hundreds of acres of its land.

Local media reports said the unworthy conduct charge was a minor one for which the men, if convicted, would serve no jail time and carry no criminal record.

Human rights group B'Tselem, which publicized the video of the shooting, issued a statement deploring the military's decision not to press criminal charges.

"An army that treats the shooting of a bound detainee from point blank range as 'inappropriate conduct' is disgracing the values it claims to hold," B'Tselem wrote.


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