Jerusalem Pride Murderer Sentenced to Life

On Sunday, June 26, the Judges in Jerusalem District Court sentenced Yishai Schlissel to life in prison plus 31 years, and more than 2 million shekels in reparations to his victims. The court recognized the severity of his crime, the lack of regret shown by Schlissel and the danger he poses to the LGBTQ community, and assured that he would not be released from prison again.

An Israeli court on Sunday 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 on Sunday with his hands and feet shackled, Schlissel was sentenced to life plus 31 years, a court statement said.

He was also ordered to pay 2,064,000 shekels ($531,000, 478,000 euros).

“This guy showed no remorse,” Noam Eyal, 31 and 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.

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“Over the past year, we followed after Yishai Shlisel’s, the villainous killer’s trial closely,” said Sara –Kala Meir, CEO of Jerusalem Open House For Pride and Tolerance (JOH). “The verdict given today is yet another milestone in our fight against hatred, violence and darkness towards LGTBQ community. Unfortunately, Shlisel’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 acknowledgment in the need to condemn people like Shlisel from our society, a major step towards a better world.”

“We put our faith in the legal system throughout that entire litigation, that justice will be served,” continued Sara. “Thus, preventing further incitement from occurring after Shlisel’s act has created many followers who see his crimes as a call for action.

“JOH and LGTBQ community of Jerusalem are treated daily with anger, ignorance, hatred and a disrespected approach regarding basic human dignity and liberty. Last year’s March horrible assassination should be a warning sign to the entire Israeli society. We must strengthen the voice of reason and fight the voice of hatred in Jerusalem, Orlando and everywhere else around the world.”

This year’s Jerusalem Gay Pride’s theme is dedicated to the memory Shira Banki and all of last year’s wounded. “We call you all to join us- regardless your religion, race, gender, political views or sexual preferences, to march with us at Jerusalem’s pride March on July 21st,” says Sara. “Join us in march for honoring Shira’s way of life, for values of equality and tolerance, march for the future of the Israeli society in all of its facets. Come and march with us.”

Please stand with us as we approach the 2016 Jerusalem March for Pride and Tolerance in honor of Shira on July 21st and help us show the world we are #HereToStay,” wrote Tom Canning from the Jerusalem Open House in a letter to JOH supporters. “Stand with us as we support Shira’s family the 6 were wounded by Schlissel’s knife, who will be in attendance at the march. The LGBTQ community of Jerusalem will honor Shira Banki z”l, the victims of Orlando, and victims of violence and homophobia around the globe.”