Saturday, October 16, 2010

Something to be proud of

The following segments have been translated from the article "He goes Free" which appeared in Yediot Aharonot newspaper on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 - and speak for themselves:

In the middle of a trip to Eilat, Daniel Okev stopped the vehicle, drew his gun and shot the British tourists who had taken a ride with him. 13 years have passed, and now he is already being released from prison.

On August 12, 1997 Okev, an IDF reserve officer, picked up in his car a pair of tourists from England, Max Hunter and Charlotte Gibb, who were in their twenties. In the evening, when they reached the Mitzpe Ramon area, he stopped the car and went out with the tourists to freshen up. The three smoked cigarettes, looked at the stars and Okev explained to them how to find the North Star. Suddenly, for no reason, Okev pulled out the pistol which he carried with a permit and fired five bullets at the two. Hunter was hit in the head and died on the spot. Gibb was hit in the face and survived by pretending to be dead.

Okev, who thought he did kill the couple, went back to his car and sped away, but within days the police managed to track him down. He was arrested, confessed, and was indicted for murder and severe assault.

Okev's attorneys argued in his defense that he had committed the murder under the influence of traumatic experiences from the time of his military service, spent in the Rimon Special Unit which in the seventies carried out hundreds of liquidations in Gaza, in the course of the struggle against Palestinian terrorist organizations

A character witness in favor of Okev was Maj. Gen. (ret.) Meir Dagan, founder and commanding officer of the Rimon Special Unit, who is at present Dircetor of the Mossad. Dagan's testimony was given behind closed doors and its contents remain a mystery.

Okev was sentenced to twenty years in prison after being found guilty of "murder with reduced responsibility". It was decided, however, to deduct one-third of his sentence for good behavior and he is accordingly being released after 13 years in prison.

Upon his release Okev said: "First of all I am going to rebuild my family. I want my children to understand that their real father is not the murderer but the warrior from the Rimon Special Unit.