Page last updated at 14:00 GMT, Wednesday, 1 July 2009 15:00 UK

Israel to raise foot shot charges

Grab from video of checkpoint incident
The colonel was holding Mr Abu Rahma's arm as the soldier opened fire

Israel's highest court has ordered stronger charges against two military personnel over the shooting of a bound Palestinian in the West Bank last year.

The sergeant and his commanding officer were originally charged with improper conduct, which would have carried a maximum penalty of one year in prison.

The court called for charges reflecting the gravity of the offence, which was filmed by human rights activists.

The victim was not seriously injured by the rubber-coated steel bullet.

The video footage showed the soldier, acting on orders from his commander standing next to him, shooting Ashraf Abu Rahma in the foot at point-blank range.

The Supreme Court ordered the military to issue a new indictment with more severe charges that would "accurately reflect the circumstances and the actions taken".

"It is a cruel act that deserves a punishment which reflects this," the judges said in a statement.

"The moral gap between the nature of the act described in the indictment and the manner of evaluation in the indictment - as the offence of 'improper conduct' - is so deep that it cannot stand," they wrote.

The sergeant and his colonel had said they intended only to frighten Mr Abu Rahma, who had been protesting against construction of Israel's separation barrier near the West Bank village of Nilin.

Palestinians and human rights organisations have long complained about harsh treatment of civilians by Israeli troops in the occupied West Bank, and light sentences handed down to abusive soldiers.

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