Israeli court sentences soldiers for abusing Palestinians

JERUSALEM — Three Israeli soldiers charged with abusing Palestinian detainees have been sentenced to six and a half months in prison under a plea deal with a military court.

The court approved the plea bargain late Sunday after the soldiers confessed to severely abusing two Palestinian suspects. The agreement, which avoided more serious assault charges, calls for the soldiers to serve 190 days in prison followed by probation, and demotes the soldiers in rank. The defense welcomed the plea deal, saying it would likely not show up on the soldiers' permanent records.

The Palestinians who were abused were arrested for allegedly assisting gunmen involved in a West Bank attack that killed two Israeli soldiers from the same unit in December.

Two more soldiers are still negotiating plea bargains in the case.

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