More Evidence Arises in Trial of Soldier Who Killed Subdued Assailant

After the shooting, a prominent resident of Hebron who was at the scene told Elor Azaria to take a good lawyer, a Military Police investigator says.

Elor Azaria at a hearing in the Jaffa Military Court on Sunday, June 26, 2016.
David Bachar

A Military Police investigator testified on Sunday morning at the trial of Elor Azaria, the soldier accused of killing a prone Palestinian assailant in Hebron, saying that after the shooting a prominent resident of Hebron suggested to Azaria's father that he take a good lawyer.

According to the investigator, a phone call took place between Ofer Ohana, a paramedic who was at the scene of the shooting and a well-known figure in Hebron, and Charlie Azaria, the soldier's father. In a WhatsApp conversation between the two, the former suggested that they take a good lawyer.

At the beginning of the month, the military prosecution presented more evidence from the March incident in Hebron, in which Ohana showcases the knife used by the assailant. Later the knife can be seen kicked in the direction of the assailant's body, according to the prosecutor by Ohana. Ohana testified in his investigation that he held a conference call with the soldier and his father. The investigator noted that a lab test didn’t manage to obtain the voice messages between Ohana and the soldier's father that were sent using the app.

The military prosecutor read out during Sunday's hearing from a testimony by a soldier from Azaria's company, who described in his investigation that Azaria "said something along the lines that 'my friend has been stabbed, and they tried to kill him, so he also deserves to die." He also answered in the affirmative when asked whether he himself had heard Azaria say the same thing to the company commander, Tom Na'aman.

Na'aman testified some two weeks ago in Azaria's trial, and said that following the shooting he saw "Elor, with his hands on the weapon, walking westward. I approached him and asked him 'why did you do that?' and he answered me 'that terrorist was alive, he needs to die.'" The commander added, "I was angry that he did it. In fact, shooting was carried out at the area under my command, without my permission and without updating me."

After the commander's testimony, during which he said there was no operational justification for Azaria's shooting, his mobile phone number was distributed in right-wing activists' WhatsApp groups and on social media and he received threats.