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  • » 01/05/2017, 09.30


    Netanyahu asks for pardon of Israeli soldier condemned with murder of a Palestinian

    Just hours after the court ruling, the Israeli prime minister already speaks of pardon for Elor Sergeant Azari. He spoke of "hard and painful day" and reiterates his full support for the soldier and his family. Israeli President underscores that such an action is currently "premature." The request will be examined after judges determine sentence.

    Jerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) – Just few hours after the ruling, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked that the Israeli soldier convicted of manslaughter for killing a young unarmed and helpless Palestinian be pardoned. The trial of the 20 year-old Sergeant Elor Azaria looks set to increasingly divide the country, with far right politicians calling for the sentence to be dropped.

    The soldier could face up to 20 years in prison; the three judges of the military court reserved a few weeks before pronouncing the sentence of imprisonment.

    Handing down the ruling the president of the jury, Colonel Maya Heller, stressed that there were no apparent reasons to justify the opening of fire against the Palestinian youth. "The reason [Elor] shot - said the judge - is the fact that he thought it was right that the terrorist should die."

    In a post published on his Facebook page late in the afternoon yesterday, the Prime Minister spoke of "hard and painful day for all of us, but first of all for Elor and his family". "I fully support the request to grant him pardon," said Netanyahu, who declares himself close "to the relatives and to the soldiers”.

    Among others members of the government already active in demanding a pardon is the Israeli Minister of Education, and representative of the extreme right, Naftali Bennett. All day yesterday solidarity demonstrations were held in various places throughout the country. According to one poll, 65% of Israelis (Jews) are in favor of the request of the prime minister and his government.

    In contrast, the center-left coalitions and former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni are battling for the  autonomy of the judiciary [military] and claim that the verdict must be accepted. This is the only way, she warns, to heal the bloody wound that has opened within society.

    President Reuven Rivlin has also intervened recalling that any comment or action is currently "premature." The Head of State will examine any request for a pardon only once the procedure has been concluded and the length of the sentence handed down.

    The legal team defending the young soldier has already announced that it will appeal against the verdict. Instead  the family members of Abdul Fatah al-Sharif, the 21-year old Palestinian killed by Elor, have expressed staisfaction. For the father Yusri deserves a life sentence; the uncle Fathi adds that the decision to prosecute him for manslaughter rather than premeditated murder - which provides for more severe punishment - is a "perversion of court justice”.

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    See also

    04/01/2017 18:16:00 ISRAEL – PALESTINE
    Israeli soldier who shot a Palestinian laying helpless on the ground found guilty

    A military court convicted Sergeant Elor Azaria of manslaughter. Sentencing is expected in a few weeks with the culprit facing up to 20 years in prison. The decision was read out in two and a half hours. The defence’s arguments were rejected, stressing how the 21-year-old Palestinian was not a threat.

    03/03/2017 13:22:00 ISRAEL – PALESTINE
    Uri Avnery: the Sergeant Azaria affair mirrors a rift in Israeli society

    The soldier who shot a wounded and helpless young Palestinian man has failed to show repentance. The trial has been used to protest against the army and the state structure. A deep hatred between Ashkenazi and Mizrahi persists. Even the military is no longer a guarantor of unity. Ending the occupation would heal cleavages. Courtesy of Gush Shalom.

    10/05/2016 09:55:00 ISRAEL - PALESTINE
    Trial begins against Israeli soldier who killed a helpless and wounded Palestinian

    Jaffa court opens proceedings against 19 year old Sergeant Elor Azaria, on trial for manslaughter. The defense proclaims the innocence of the defendant, who acted in accordance with the rules of engagement. The judges invites parties to plea bargain. The prosecution has a week to decide whether to accept or reject the request.

    02/04/2016 10:11:00 ISRAEL - PALESTINE
    No jail for Israeli soldier who shot dead Palestinian lying wounded on the ground

    The soldier who killed in cold blood the 21 year old Abdul Fatah al-Sharif will address the trial as a free man. The judge’s order him to stay on his military base. He refuses to cooperate and does not respond to questions. Controversy also on the charge, considered too mild. Extreme movements protest for his acquittal from all charges.

    01/04/2016 09:26:00 ISRAEL - PALESTINE
    Israeli soldier on trial for wrongful death: he killed a Palestinian on the ground

    The soldier killed the 21 year old Abdul Fatah al-Sharif when he was already wounded. Previously the Palestinian had stabbed two Israeli soldiers. Yesterday Prime Minister Netanyahu phoned the soldier’s father. The affair has divided public opinion.

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