Last updated: 24 February, 2013

Gazan court slashes jail term in Italian murder case

A Palestinian military court in Gaza on Sunday cut by half the jail sentence of a man involved in the abduction and murder of Italian national Vittorio Arrigoni.

An AFP reporter said the tribunal’s judge accepted the appeal of former policeman Khadr Faruq Jerim, who last year was convicted of kidnapping Arrigoni, and cut his prison term from 10 to five years.

Jerim’s lawyer Mohammed Zaqut told AFP that “the conviction was adjusted from abduction for the purpose of murder to abduction for the purpose of holding captive.”

Last week, the same court accepted the appeals of the two militants, also both former policemen, convicted of the kidnap and murder of Arrigoni and reduced their life terms to 15 years behind bars.

Arrigoni, 36, a long-time member of the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement, was kidnapped on April 14, 2011, and a group of Salafists threatened to kill him unless Gaza’s Hamas rulers freed several fellow militants.

But he was found hanged in an abandoned house in northern Gaza shortly after the video was posted.

A fourth man, Amer Abu Ghola, was jailed for a year for providing the house in which Arrigoni’s body was found.

Arrigoni’s death shocked Gaza and the community of international aid workers in the coastal territory where he had lived and worked for around three years.

It was the first time a foreign national had been murdered since the Islamist movement Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in 2007, ousting forces loyal to Western-backed Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.