Jerusalem gay Pride killer jailed for life

Yishai Shlissel (centre)

Yishai Shlissel (centre)

The religious extremist who killed a young woman during last year’s Jerusalem Pride parade has been sentenced to life in prison.

Yishai Shlissel, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, ran amok through the July 2015 parade, stabbing participants with a 15 cm-long kitchen knife.

One of his victims, 16-year-old LGBT-ally Shira Banki, succumbed to her injuries in hospital and died.

On Sunday, the Jerusalem District Court sentenced Schlissel, 41, to life in prison for the murder, plus an additional 31 years for six counts of attempted murder. He was also ordered to pay NIS 2.6 million (US$ 670,000 / R 10.4 million) in compensation to the victims’ families.

In their sentence, the judges described Schlissel as “a cruel man” who “sees himself as ‘giving and taking life’ in the name of the principles that he set for himself to enforce”.

They added: “This dangerous man can no longer walk the streets of Jerusalem or any other place.”

Shlissel, who has refused to recognise the court, claimed that he was doing the will of God. It’s believed that he will lodge an appeal.

Jerusalem Open House, the organisation behind the Pride event, welcomed the sentence. “The verdict given today is yet another milestone in our fight against hatred, violence and darkness towards LGTBQ community,” said the organisation’s director.

“Unfortunately, Schlissel’s term of imprisonment cannot heal our open bleeding wounds, nor bring back to life Shira Banki. Having said that, we derive comfort from court’s acknowledgement in the need to condemn people like Schlissel from our society, a major step towards a better world,” she said.

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