The IDF Military Court today, Tuesday, 25 Shevat announced the sentence in the manslaughter trial of Sgt. Elor Azariya. The young soldier was charged with manslaughter after firing at a wounded terrorist in Hebron last Purim, killing him.
The court acknowledged that the defendant was an exemplary soldier, served as the company’s medic, has always tried to contribute to society and that the incident is his first since he has always been an example of conduct and performance. The court also mentioned that it is aware that his remand to a base for ten months has had an effect on him as well as the health and well-being of his parents and family. All of these factors have been weighed prior to coming to a decision as to the verdict in the case.
The court was divided on the punishment. The sentence handed down is 18 months imprisonment and court martial to the rank of private. He will remain on probation for a number of years. If one-third is removed for good behavior as is the norm, he should not serve more than a year in prison. The court did not take his remand to the base during the trial into account for sentencing.
The terrorist was shot and wounded after stabbing an IDF soldier, a colleague of Azariya. He then responded and fired at the terrorist at close range, telling authorities he saw the terrorist moving and feared he might be reaching for a bomb on his body. Many testified and confirmed his version of the events as well as a number of people rejecting his version.
The court rejected most of the defense arguments. The prosecution asked for a 3-to-5-year sentence that does not include time served as Azariya has been restricted to his base throughout the trial, which has been about ten months. The defense asked for a year or two and including time served. The defense has indicated an appeal in the case is likely.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)