IDF soldier sentenced for shooting terrorist loses appeal

The court rejected an appeal by IDF soldier Elor Azaria, who was sentenced to prison for killing a wounded terrorist.

An Israeli military court on Sunday rejected the appeal of IDF soldier Elor Azaria, who was sentenced in February to 18 months in prison after being found guilty of manslaughter.

Both Azaria and the prosecution appealed the verdict in March, and while the five-judge panel criticized both sides, the appeal was rejected 3-2.

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.

The prosecution insisted Azaria’s action was unlawful and an act of vengeance, noting the terrorist died of gunshot wounds rather than of injuries sustained during the attack.

The defense maintained Azaria felt his life was in danger, saying he thought the terrorist could have been carrying a bomb on his body.

Azaria is expected to appeal for clemency from President Reuven Rivlin.

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

The rare case of an active serviceman being charged for killing a terrorist has polarized Israelis and inflamed public tensions, with some criticizing Azaria’s conduct and large segments of the public rallying behind him.

By: World Israel News Staff