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The Captain accused of shooting 13 yr. old Iman al Hams at point blank range cleared

In a dramatic turn of events, one of the soldiers who testified that he had seen the Givati company commander known as "Capt. R." shoot Palestinian schoolgirl Iman al Hams, 13, at point blank range last October near the Girit outpost close to Rafah, admitted to the Southern Command military court Sunday that he had lied on.

Due to the developments, the court ordered the release of Capt. R. from custody and that his weapon be returned to him. He will return to the division and receive details of his future posting.

"Despite two previous court sessions, he admitted to lying and fabricating the story," Capt. R.'s lawyer Elad Eizenberg told The Jerusalem Post.

Eizenberg noted that the accusations against his client were based chiefly on the testimonies of two soldiers – the whom he cross-questioned in court Sunday and another who in a previous hearing was unable to verify that the company commander aimed his weapon and shot the girl at point blank range.

According to Eizenberg at Sunday's hearing, the soldier admitted to the court that the soldiers, himself included, lied in attempt to oust Capt.R. from the company, who took up the post just two months before the shooting.

"He fought against all sorts of problems he encountered among the soldiers in an attempt to restore discipline. The soldiers apparently took advantage of the situation and decided to incriminate him and kick him out. They had a clear-cut agenda," Eizenberg said.

According to Eizenberg, prior to the shooting of the girl, the soldiers approached Israel Radio with another story in attempt to discredit the company commander.

Since he was indicted last November on two counts of illegal use of weapons, obstruction of justice, unbecoming behavior and the improper use of authority that endangered others, the commander has been confined to an IDF base, but is permitted to go home on weekends.

Throughout, he has denied the charges against him and expressed his intention to clear his name. Yoav Mani, a lawyer for the defense, said that owing to recent developments, they intend to request that military police launch another investigation.

"For three and a half months he has been held in custody, he should be released," said Eizenberg.

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