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Israeli court
sentences antigay religious zealot

Israeli court
sentences antigay religious zealot

In a surprise decision--seen as a major victory for gays in Israel--the district court in Jerusalem sentenced Yishay Schlissel to 12 years in prison for stabbing and wounding three marchers in a local gay pride parade last summer. The court also ordered, on Wednesday, that Schlissel pay $60,000 to compensate the three victims he attacked with a kitchen knife. The 30-year-old Schlissel is an ultra-Orthodox Jew from the Kiryat Sefer settlement who said he committed the crime "as a representative of God." Schlissel was convicted last week of attempted murder but refused to express any regret. As the sentence was read, Schlissel refused to stand, although his mother and family begged him to respect the court. The prosecution has said that it is considering charging him with contempt of court. Supporters and family of the victims also attended the hearing: Yafit, the mother of Ligal Tarazi, who was wounded slightly in the attack, told journalists on Wednesday that she is planning also on filing a civil law suit against Schlissel. Yet she said, "I am pleasantly surprised by the judge's decision; we did not expect 12 years."

Noah Satat, chairman of Jerusalem's gay rights group Open House, said, "We are pleased with the verdict that was in favor of the freedom of expression and in favor of the equality of the gay and lesbian community. The court's decision strengthens us ahead of the gay pride march that will take place on August this year in Jerusalem." (Sami Sockol, Sirius OutQ News)

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