Hebron Shooter Azaria to Appeal Manslaughter Conviction This Week

Israeli soldier is due to start 18-month sentence next Sunday for killing of Palestinian assailant, but jail time may be deferred until after appeal is heard.

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

Sgt. Elor Azaria, the soldier convicted of manslaughter for shooting and killing a wounded and immobilized Palestinian assailant in Hebron last March, is to appeal his conviction, his lawyers said Monday.

Azaria, who was convicted by Jaffa Military Court in early January, was sentenced last week to 18 months’ imprisonment for the killing of Abdel Fattah al-Sharif. Azaria shot Sharif in the head after the Palestinian had been subdued following a stabbing attack he committed.

Azaria’s defense team announced it will be holding a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, after it submits the appeal.

The decision to appeal the verdict precludes, at least for now, any discussion about a possible lessening of Azaria’s sentence. There were reportedly disagreements among the soldier’s defense team last week on whether to appeal. Those opposed to the move said it could hurt Azaria after what even his own lawyer, Ilan Katz, described as a relatively lenient sentence.

Jaffa Military Court stipulated that Azaria was to begin serving his sentence this coming Sunday in Prison 6, near Atlit in northern Israel. It is assumed that his lawyers will ask that the sentence be delayed until the appeal is heard, but that will be for the military court to decide.