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Sentence Commuted For Man Who Killed His Rapist

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On Nov. 19, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin announced he was partially commuting the sentence of a man convicted of killing his rapist.

Yonatan Heilo was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2013 after he killed Yaron Eilin, reports The Times Of Israel.

Eilin repeatedly raped, robbed and blackmailed Heilo over several months in 2010, and Heilo says he was acting in self-defense.

"I was afraid he would do it again," Heilo told authorities, reports Haaretz.  "I saw him from behind. When he was about to turn around, because of my fury and all my anger, I choked him. I was afraid he would kill me, I was afraid he would rape me again."

Heilo has since fought for early release and is now reaping the fruit of his labors.

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"In view of the significant rehabilitation process that Heilo has undergone over the past year, in light of his exceptional medical condition, and considering his difficult and special circumstances as a victim of severe acts prior to what he did, the president decided to adopt the justice minister’s recommendation and to convert part of the prison sentence imposed on Heilo into a suspended sentence, so that the sentence of actual imprisonment will be ten years and eight months and he can face the parole board in the near future," Rivlin’s office said in a statement.

Heilo's lawyer, Alon Eizenberg, was ecstatic about the news.

"The State Prosecutor’s Office fought to sentence him to life imprisonment and did not believe that he had been sexually abused," Eizenberg said, adding: "In the spirit of liberation and after five years of struggle, it is clear that Yonatan Heilo is proof that it is possible to make the impossible possible."

In 2016, the Supreme Court shortened his sentence from 20 to 12 years, replacing his murder conviction with manslaughter.

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At the time, Rivlin turned down Heilo’s request for a full pardon but said he would reconsider in the future.

Many were thrilled to learn about the presidential pardon.

"I applaud the president for his decision to lighten Yonatan Heilo's sentence," said Member of Knesset (MK) Yoel Hasson of the Zionist Union, reports Ynetnews. "I initially got more than 70 MKs to sign the request to reprieve him."

"Yonatan found himself under particularly tragic circumstances," added Hasson, before stating that "he has paid his debt to society" and "has reached the point when he should be released and allowed to rehabilitate his life."

Sources: The Times Of Israel, HaaretzYnetnews  / Featured Image: Bloomsberries/Flickr / Embedded Images: Spokesperson unit of the President of Israel via Wikimedia CommonsHaim Zach via Wikimedia Commons

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