IDF chief commutes sentence of soldier who shot wounded terrorist

The IDF chief of staff has granted Azaria his request for clemency and shortened his sentence by four months.

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot announced Wednesday that he has accepted a request for clemency from IDF soldier Elor Azaria and has shortened his prison term by four months.

Azaria was sentenced in February to 18 months in prison after being found guilty of manslaughter. He lost an appeal in August, and submitted a request for clemency to Eizenkot in August.

In a letter sent to Azaria, who is currently serving his prison term, Eisenkott condemned the soldier’s actions but said he took into consideration his exemplary service as a combat soldier and decided that a display of mercy was called for in this case.

With Eisenkot’s decision, Azaria is now scheduled to be released in a year. He can request to have his sentence further reduced by 50 percent, as per military regulations.

In March 2016, Azaria, a combat medic stationed in Hebron, shot a neutralized terrorist in the head as he lay wounded on the ground after committing a stabbing attack against the soldier’s colleagues.

Azaria claimed during his trial that he felt his life was in danger, saying he thought the terrorist could have been carrying a bomb on his body.

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In a missive sent to Eisenkot in August, Azaria wrote that had he known that the terrorist was not wearing an explosive built, he would not have shot him.

A poll from January shows 70 percent of the Israeli public is in favor of pardoning Azaria. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and several senior ministers have likewise expressed support for such a move.

By: World Israel News Staff