World Bulletin/News Desk
With tearful eyes and a broken heart, the mother of slain Palestinian teenager Mohamed Abu Khdeer holds a picture of her son, whom she last saw last July when he went out to perform dawn prayers at a nearby mosque.
"I go to my son's room every night, burying my head in his bed in order to sleep," Suha Abu Khdeer, the aggrieved mother, told Anadolu Agency.
"I keep thinking about my son, but I know that nobody can return him to me," she added in tears.
Abu Khdeer, 16, was abducted from outside his home in East Jerusalem's Shuafat neighborhood on July 2. Soon afterward, his charred body was found in a nearby forest.
A subsequent autopsy report suggested he had been burnt alive by his abductors.
Footage taken from a security camera near Abu Khdeer's home showed what appeared to be Jewish settlers abducting the boy. In the footage, the kidnappers can be seen forcing him into their car before speeding off.
Three Israeli right-wing extremists, including two minors, were subsequently charged with kidnapping Abu Khdeer and burning him to death.
Shin Bet, Israel's domestic security agency, said the three suspects had admitted to kidnapping, beating and burning Abu Khdeer alive in "revenge" for the earlier murder of three teenage Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank.
The Israeli Defense Ministry, for its part, has recognized Abu Khdeer as a "victim of terrorism."
His distressed mother welcomed the decision, but said she was horrified by the idea that the murderers might get away with what they had done to her son.
"In many similar cases in the past, the criminals get away with the same excuse – insanity," she added.
For her, justice will only be served when the murderers are sentenced to life in prison.
But for the slain boy's father, Hussein Abu Khdeer, even this would not be enough.
He said the murders should have their homes demolished – a measure similar to that carried out by Israeli authorities in August when they destroyed two West Bank homes on the pretext that the owners had been responsible for the settlers' murder in June.
Yet he believes no justice will come from Israeli courts.
"Israeli courts are not fair; I am sure that there is not going to be the decision that justice demands," he said.
"Instead of punishing the killers, Israel has arrested dozens of Palestinian youths – including some from my own family – since my son was murdered," the grieving father said.
"I believe the Israeli court will give the criminals a five-to-ten-year jail sentence and let them out even before they finish their terms. What's more, the criminals will be sent to psychologists [to determine their mental state at the time of the incident]," he added.
However, he added that "any Palestinian who kills anybody gets a lifetime sentence isn't sent to a psychologist. But in every case in which an Israeli kills a Palestinian, the criminal is sent to psychologists."
His oldest daughter, Aya, 24, agreed with her father's assertions.
"I don't believe there will be any justice from the Israeli courts," she said sadly.
"History has shown us the discrimination between the Palestinians and Israelis when it comes to [legal] judgment," she added.
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