Israeli Army Leans Towards Appealing Lenient Sentence for Hebron Shooter

Sgt. Elor Azaria was given an 18 month term for manslaughter. Prosecutors have days to decide whether to appeal it.

Sgt. Elor Azaria arriving at Jaffa Military Court in January 2017.
Sgt. Elor Azaria arriving at Jaffa Military Court, January 2017. POOL/REUTERS

Military prosecutors plan to appeal the lenient 18 month prison sentence given to Elor Azaria last month who was found guilty of manslaughter in the shooting and killing of an immobilized terrorist in Hebron last year.

Military sources, who said this seems to be the direction the prosecution is taking, said a final decision will be made in the coming days.

Those pushing for the appeal argue that Azaria’s sentence was not congruent with the ruling of the judges, which was very critical of him.

Prosecutors had asked for a three-to-five year sentence. In the end, the military court, headed by Col. Maya Heller, decided on 18 months, which seemed to be the lightest sentence to fit the verdict. 

The minority view, apparently that of Col. Carmel Wahabi, held that Azaria should have been sentenced to two and a half to five years in prison. 

If the prosecution wants to appeal, it will have to do so within the next few days. 

Last week, Azaria, through attorney Yoram Sheftel, filed an appeal of his conviction, and the military appeals court ruled that the start of his sentence would be delayed until that appeal is heard.

Until then, Azaria will remain in open detention – the equivalent of house arrest – on the Nahshonim Military Base. 

Azaria’s previous defense team, attorneys Eyal Besserglick and Ilan Katz, resigned when the Azaria family decided to pursue the appeal.