Israeli soldier who killed Palestinian attacker jailed for 18 months

Sergeant Elor Azaria found guilty of the manslaughter of 21-year-old Abdul Fatah al-Sharif



THE Israeli soldier convicted of killing an injured Palestinian attacker has been sentenced to 18 months in prison at a Jaffa Military Court today.

Sergeant Elor Azaria was found guilty of manslaughter for shooting dead 21-year-old Abdul Fatah al-Sharif in Hebron, last March.

Azaria had told a colleague that Sharif, who had stabbed another soldier, "deserved to die".

Military chiefs condemned his actions, but others praised them.

The offence carries a sentence of up to 20 years, but the  IDF prosecution had asked for a three to five year sentence, based on past manslaughter cases.

Azaria’s lawyers had requested no jail time – and  suggested the court should throw out the conviction because of alleged pressure on Azaria’s family not to appeal against the ruling.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he would support any decision to pardon Azaria.

The killing received widespread coverage after footage of the incident, filmed on a mobile phone, was shown on Israeli news programmes.

It showed Azaria cocking his gun and firing at the head of Sharif, who was lying apparently incapacitated on the ground after being shot and wounded following the stabbing attack.

The military court which tried Azaria dismissed his claim that he had acted out of fear that Sharif might have been wearing an explosive vest.

The killing occurred amid a wave of attacks by Palestinians that had killed 29 Israelis over the preceding five months.

Following the incident military chiefs and the prime minister came under fire from right-wing sections of society - including members of Mr Netanyahu's cabinet - for criticising Azaria's actions.

Mr Netanyahu later telephoned Azaria's father to offer reassurance.


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