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Man who went on stabbing spree at Jerusalem Gay Pride sentenced to life

The ultra-Orthodox Yishai Schlissel killed a 16-year-old girl during the attack.

Yishai Schlissel shortly before stabbing people at Jerusalem Gay Pride in April 2015
Yishai Schlissel shortly before stabbing people at Jerusalem Gay Pride in April 2015
Image: AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner

AN ISRAELI COURT has today sentenced an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man to life in prison for killing a 16-year-old girl and wounding others during a stabbing spree at a Jerusalem Gay Pride parade.

The Jerusalem District Court convicted Yishai Schlissel in April of murder and six counts of attempted murder.

The July 2015 stabbings had triggered harsh criticism of the police, with Schlissel having been released from prison only three weeks earlier after serving a 10-year sentence for a similar attack.

They had also sparked an outpouring of grief for 16-year-old Shira Banki, who was stabbed in the back and died of her wounds a few days later.

Led into the courtroom today with both hands and feet shackled, Schlissel was sentenced to life plus 31 years, a court statement said.

Mideast Israel Gay Pride Attack Schlissel being detained shortly after carrying out the attack Source: AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner

He was also ordered to pay 2,064,000 shekels (€478,000).

Prosecutors had requested life plus 60 years.

“This guy showed no remorse,” Noam Eyal, 31, who said he was one of the victims, told AFP outside the court.

“In the last hearing before this he said that this is a religious war.”

In addition to Schlissel having been released from prison only weeks before, he had also posted a letter on the Internet speaking of the “abomination” of a Gay Pride parade being held in the Holy City.

He spoke of the need to stop it, even at the cost of one’s life.

Many questioned how Schlissel, 40 when he was convicted, was allowed anywhere near the parade, which saw thousands marching through central Jerusalem.

Witnesses described terrifying scenes of Schlissel, with a long beard and dressed in the dark suit worn by ultra-Orthodox Jews, storming the parade with a knife.

Six senior Israeli policemen were eventually removed from their posts over the attack.

Police under scrutiny 

When he was charged in court in August, Schlissel lashed out at homosexuality and mentioned Banki’s name.

“The pride parade must be stopped in order for the soul of Shira Banki to ascend to heaven,” Schlissel told the court.

“With all the sorrow, it must be known that whoever marches in the Jerusalem Gay Pride march is declaring war on God. And whoever is warring against God, can’t really complain,” he told reporters during a remand hearing in August.

The annual Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem, a city sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians, is far smaller than the one held in nearby Tel Aviv.

Tel Aviv’s parade typically attracts tens of thousands of people to what is considered one of the world’s most gay-friendly cities, while Jerusalem is far less welcoming to homosexuals.

Sarah Kala, executive director of Jerusalem Open House LGBT centre, said after the sentencing that “it’s another step to try and deter the terrible homophobia raging on our streets.

- © AFP, 2016

Read: Palestinian attacker kills US tourist in stabbing spree along Tel Aviv’s waterfront

Also: Israeli man charged with Gay Pride murder uses court appearance to attack homosexuality

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