Prosecution appeals to add time to Hebron shooter’s sentence
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Prosecution appeals to add time to Hebron shooter’s sentence

Army lawyers call for Elor Azaria to be jailed for up to five years, days after defense appealed conviction and 18-month jail sentence

IDF soldier Elor Azaria, center, who shot dead a wounded Palestinian assailant, arrives at the military court in Tel Aviv on January 31, 2017. (AFP Photo/Jack Guez)
IDF soldier Elor Azaria, center, who shot dead a wounded Palestinian assailant, arrives at the military court in Tel Aviv on January 31, 2017. (AFP Photo/Jack Guez)

Army attorneys filed an appeal on Tuesday asking the court to hike the 18-month prison sentence given to a soldier who shot and killed a wounded and disarmed Palestinian attacker in Hebron last March.

According to the prosecutors, Elor Azaria’s sentence “significantly deviates” from what is expected of the court, given the seriousness of his offense.

The prosecutors asked that he be given 30 months to five years behind bars.

Azaria, 21, was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced last month for shooting dead Abed al-Fattah al-Sharif on March 24, 2016, minutes after Sharif and another man had carried out a stabbing attack on troops in Hebron, and as Sharif lay on the ground disarmed and bleeding having been shot during the attack.

Last week, Azaria’s own attorney, Yoram Sheftel, filed an appeal against the conviction and the sentence. Azaria’s other lawyers quit immediately after the appeal was filed, apparently over a dispute as to the best course of action to follow.

Military officials had warned that they could appeal the sentence if Azaria attempted to appeal the court’s ruling.

Prosecutors argued that the sentence given to Azaria by the Jaffa Military Court was too light, given his conviction for manslaughter.

In the appeal the lawyers argued that “leaving the sentence to stand could be interpreted as setting a new bar for punishment, lower than previously accepted for such offenses.”

The appeal said that in its verdict, the lower court gave a clear message about the importance of life and proper use of arms. However in giving its lenient sentence the court “erred” by not clearly enforcing those values.

Azaria’s sentence was seen by many as a slap on the wrist, and was derided by Palestinians, the Arab League and others, while supporters among the public and politicians have called for him to be pardoned

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