Israeli Soldier Sentenced To 18 Months In Prison For Killing Palestinian
An Israeli military court on Tuesday sentenced a soldier to 18 months in prison for shooting dead a wounded Palestinian assailant who lay on the ground, sparking criticism from rights groups.
Defence lawyers announced an appeal and right-wing Israeli ministers immediately called for a pardon, while the Palestinian government and the victim’s family condemned the sentence as too lenient.
Judge Maya Heller handed down the sentence a month after Elor Azaria, 21, was found guilty of manslaughter for killing Abdul Fatah al-Sharif in the southern occupied West Bank in March last year.
He also received 18 months in suspended sentences and was demoted from sergeant to private.
Heller said the panel of three judges had taken into account mitigating factors including the “harm suffered by his family” and the fact Azaria was in “hostile territory” when the shooting occurred.
She added, however, that he had not expressed remorse for his actions.
Azaria will begin his sentence on March 5, the court announced.
He has already spent more than 10 months confined to an Israeli military base but this is not included as time served, the court ruling said.
Azaria and his family didn’t react in court as the sentence was passed down.
The March 2016 shooting in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron was caught on video by a rights group and spread widely online.
It showed Sharif, 21, lying wounded on the ground, shot along with another Palestinian after stabbing and wounding a soldier, according to the army.
Azaria then shoots him in the head without any apparent provocation.