Ex-IDF Prosecutor Accuses Politicians of Interfering in Soldier Shooter's Case

Danny Efroni sees lawmakers' comments and showing up at court as hampering a professional trial of soldier who fatally shot a prone Palestinian attacker in the head in Hebron.

Sgt. Alef at his remand hearing last week.
Ilan Assayag

The Israeli army's former chief prosecutor, General Danny Efroni, accused politicians Sunday of interfering in the case of the soldier accused of shooting to death a prone and wounded Palestinian attacker in Hebron last month.

"Someone has compared it to a reality show with a jury fed with bits of information and they begin to analyze, judge and decide instead of leaving that to the professionals," Efroni said in an interview with Army Radio.

"We have seen politicians and Knesset members arriving at the military tribunal. What were they trying to achieve, to exert influence of threaten the judges and investigators?

Efroni added that "if the prosecutors reach the conclusion they don’t have enough evidence for a trial, a result that could happen, does anyone really believe that such a result would be achieved after a real, professional and objective process? I doubt it."

"We are handling thousands of operational incidents. We know to give the proper weight to the operational aspect as well. It's clear to me the IDF prosecutor wont make any decision without leaving no stone unturned and that they will examine every doubt."

Military prosecutors believe the evidence so far gathered about the soldier is enough to draw up an indictment against him. The case now hinges on the results of an autopsy conducted on Sunday, the results which are expected to provide key evidentiary material for an indictment.

The autopsy revealed that Abed Fattah al-Sharif died as the result of a head shot, according to a Palestinian pathologist present at the autopsy.

Doctor Ryan Alali, director of pathology at the forensic institute at An Najah University in Nablus, told the Al Quds newspaper in Jerusalem that he has agreed with the Israeli team that the bullet that brought about the Palestinian's death was a bullet shot to his head.

In legal turns, if it turns out the attacker was indeed alive as he lay on the ground and died as a result of the solder identified as Sgt. E shooting him in the head, then the sergeant will most likely be charged with manslaughter.

A military board on Friday discussed an appeal against a decision to release Sgt. E, to open incarceration at this base, as prosecutors and the defense have agreed. During this period the soldier is barred from carrying any weapon or speaking to any witnesses. A further appeals session is expected to be held on Tuesday.