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Suspect in arson of asylum seeker homes reaches plea deal with no jail time

Arsonist-assister Haim Mula (center) confronting anti-racism activist (Oren Ziv / Activestills)

Arsonist-assister Haim Mula (center) confronting anti-racism activist (Oren Ziv / Activestills)

Haim Mula, a resident of the Shapira neighborhood in south Tel Aviv who was arrested last April in connection with the nighttime arson attack of several African asylum seeker homes and one kindergarten in his neighborhood, has signed a plea bargain that exempts him from jail time.

Mula, 20, was originally accused of committing the attacks himself, admitted only to having prepared the firebombs for the actual arsonist, an offense for which he is expected to receive only a few months of community service and no jail time. It will be up to the court whether to approve this fairly light punishment for Mula’s contribution to the creation of what the original indictment called “homes turned furnaces.”

The day after the Molotov cocktail attack on asylum seekers’ houses, an anti-racism demonstration was held in Shapira. Several local youths attacked demonstrators. One of them, seen in this picture in the center, turned out to be Mula, the main suspect in the arson case. The prosecution says the police have not been able to determine the identity of the actual arsonist, and that Mula refuses to cooperate and give the name of his accomplice.

Read also:

Community shaken after night of arson attacks on African refugees
Israeli arrested on suspicion of arson of asylum seekers’ homes
Asylum seekers arrested in Tel Aviv raid after authorities announce holiday reprieve

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    1. Philos

      “Mula refuses to cooperate and give the name of his accomplice” so he gets a plea bargain? What the hell? Isn’t refusing to cooperate with a criminal investigation in and of itself a serious crime? As in perjury, obstructing justice, conspiracy, etc? I despair. We are a felafel republic…

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    2. aristeides

      Usually, in a plea bargain, the guilty party has to give up something. Like maybe the name of an accomplice.

      Of course in racist Israel, a Palestinian accomplice to arson wouldn’t even be offered a plea bargain. He’d be given a long sentence for terrorism.

      How many Palestinians are in jail just for driving a terrorist to commit such an attack – or even attempt to comm it?

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    3. I agree with Philos and Aristeides. The obvious tac would be to sentence him to maximal jail time for the offense unless he cooperates.

      In the US, a State court agreeing to such a bargin might cause the Feds to indict the young man on Federal charges. Happened in the South in the 60’s (not exactly the same offense). The US had it easy: Federalism allowed indirect oversight (and later direct) of local State actions. Israel has its Attorney General, but, well ….

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    4. Piotr Berman

      American penal code is much more punitive than most, but MINIMUM sentence for arson and attempted arson is 5 years. I guess this is a very light sentence.

      There is also aspect of conspiracy, coordinated attack on four locations, which is aggravating. Normally, it is exactly the plea bargaining (not torture) to extract the names of co-conspirators: you provide evidence or you go to prison for several years. Here, perhaps the condition of the bargain was that Mula did not disclose anything and thus allow the investigation to terminate.

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