JERUSALEM — Israeli prosecutors charged a policeman on Sunday in the fatal shooting of a teenage Palestinian protester, accusing him of deliberately switching his rubber bullets with the live round that killed the youth. The prosecutors' decision to level a charge of manslaughter rather than murder drew criticism from the boy's father, who said the evidence showed the killing was premeditated.
Nadim Nuwara, 17, was shot during a demonstration in May at which Palestinians hurled stones at Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank. A second teenage protester was killed there but Israel has made no arrest in that case, citing lack of evidence as an autopsy was not carried out. Their deaths stoked Palestinian fury at Israel that has simmered since U.S.-sponsored peace negotiations collapsed in April.
The accused, a member of the paramilitary border police, was arrested on Nov. 12. His name has not been released. An indictment filed at Jerusalem District Court said the policeman had slipped a live bullet into his ammunition clip, which was meant to hold only non-lethal blank rounds with which to propel rubber bullets mounted separately on the rifle muzzle.
"The defendant used the blanks magazine so that his live fire, as opposed to rubber-bullet fire, would not be observed," the indictment said, adding that he had targeted Nuwara's torso "with the intent of causing him grave injury, and while anticipating the possibility that he would cause his death." Manslaughter, a charge associated with unintentional killings, carries a maximum 20-year prison term in Israel though judges can hand down lighter sentences.
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