Israeli court grants soldier who killed unarmed Palestinian early release

Lester Mason
Марта 20, 2018

"Had I known [al-Sharif] was not wearing an explosive belt, I definitely would not have shot him", Azaria wrote in an October appeal past year that resulted in his sentence being reduced from 18 to 14 months.

Last August, Azaria was sentenced to 18 months behind bars after being convicted of killing Abdel-Fattah al-Sharif, a young Palestinian man, in the West Bank city of Hebron in March of 2016.

The military said on Twitter that under the decision of the parole committee, Sgt. Elor Azaria could walk free on May 10, ten months after he began serving his sentence.

Israeli military chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot later reduced the term by four months.

It did not provide details on the military parole board's ruling on Azaria - who was 19 at the time of the shooting - in 2016.

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An IDF soldier loading his weapon before he appears to shoot an unarmed, prone Palestinian assailant in the head following a stabbing attack in Hebron on March 24, 2016.

Azaria's legal team requested that his 14-month sentence be cut in half.

In their arguments last week, military prosecutors referenced the fact that Azaria's sentenced had already been shortened and argued that a further reduction was not warranted at this time.

Azaria maintained that he opened fire because he believed Sharif had a bomb hidden under his clothes. Many Israelis, particularly on the nationalist right, defended his actions.

"The president learned that in passing sentence, the military court took into account the circumstances you this pardon request for considerations of leniency, and noted it took them into account in passing a lighter sentence", the letter continued. "It is impossible to ignore the feelings of the general public, that Elor Azaria is a scapegoat who has become a symbol and paid an especially high price".

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