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The crime of silence
[Daily Edition]
Jerusalem Post - Jerusalem
Date: Sep 28, 1998
Start Page: 08
Section: Opinion
Abstract (Document Summary)

The ruling of Judge Mira Lidsky in the trial of Margalit Har-Shefi, therefore, can be judged on all three fronts: whether justice was served for the individual, the nature of the legal precedent that may have been set, and the contribution of this trial to heal the still-open wound from the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin.

Yesterday the court sentenced Har-Shefi to nine months in prison and 15 months' probation for the crime of failing to prevent a crime. According to Har-Shefi's lawyer, few nations have laws against the prevention of crimes, which unlike other laws, do not prohibit an action but require one. In Israel, convictions for this crime are rare, carry a maximum sentence of two years in prison, and only have occurred when the accused have had direct, immediate, and specific knowledge of a crime about to be committed.

In the Har-Shefi case, the judge decided to convict based on what she admitted was a broad definition of "knowledge" of a potential crime, since Har-Shefi was found not to have known of, or had any specific connection with, the terrible murder that Yigal Amir committed on November 4, 1995.

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