Soldier who shot wounded terrorist appeals to IDF chief for clemency

After losing his appeal, Azaria is seeking clemency from IDF Chief of Staff Eizenkot.

IDF soldier Elor Azaria, who was sentenced in February to 18 months in prison after being found guilty of manslaughter and lost an appeal last week, has submitted a request for clemency to IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot.

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.

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

Azaria is slated to begin serving his term on Wednesday. On Sunday, he requested that his date of imprisonment be postponed until Eizenkot responds to his clemency plea.

Azaria also requested that his prison time be converted to community service, presumably to be served within the IDF.

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.

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