The IDF Military Appeals Court Sunday, July 30, rejected the appeal filed by Elor Azariya against his conviction for manslaughter for shooting a wounded Palestinian terrorist in Hebron last year and confirmed his 18-month jail sentence. Although he was demobilized 10 days ago, the former soldier will serve out his sentence in a military prison. His family plans to petition the president for a pardon.
The panel presided over by Maj. Gen. Doron Piles, and consisting of two jurists and two high-ranking officers from combat units, rejected all the points raised in the appeal and upheld the lower court’s decisions, in a longwinded, rambling, tortuous preamble read out for nearly three hours. They found that Azariya had lied in his testimony and killed the terrorist deliberately – not because he saw him as a continuing danger, as he had claimed..
The judges decided to let the 18-month sentence stand without prolonging it – despite the severity of the manslaughter conviction – in consideration of the burden carried by young soldiers in serving the country, often at great peril. But they also emphasized the importance of every member of the armed forces strictly upholding the basic IDF ethical code, which respects human life and the purity of his/or weapons.