Military judges reject appeal, Azaria sentenced to 18 months in prison

The Military Court of Appeals in Tel Aviv has rejected Elor Azaria's appeal. The judges ruled that Azaria's account of the events was "unreliable" and rejected the defense team's case.

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Azaria was released 10 days ago from the army and has been on house arrest until his arrival in court today, nearly 6 months after Azaria was first convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison. Today (Sunday), at 13:00, the Military Court of Appeals began handing down its ruling on Elazar Azaria's appeal of his conviction in the killing of a terrorist. Although the judges found faults in company commander Tom Naaman’s testimony, the judges rejected many arguments made by the defense team and stated: "We haven’t found a motive in the soldiers’ testimonies against the defendant…these weren’t coordinated testimonies." The judges panel further stated: "The appellant acted in a manner inconsistent with Open-Fire Regulations.”

The judges ruled that Elor Azaria's version of events was unreliable: "It was not proven that the terrorist’s appearance was suspicious in any way that it would have been possible to cause fear of a knife or an explosive device.” The judges added that they found no evidence to contradict the intial determination that the shooting was vengefully motivated. Azaria will begin serving his sentence at Prison 6 near Haifa.

 

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Protesters outside Military Court of Appeals, today Photo Credit: Channel 2 News

Several demonstrators gathered outside the court which the Azaria family claimed was not their doing. "We're here today to hopefully hear an acquittal, with God's help," Azaria’s father, Charlie told Channel 2 News.

The divisive incident took place on March 24, 2016 when two men armed with knives arrived at an IDF post near Hebron, stabbed a soldier from the Shimshon battalion in arm and shoulder, lightly wounding him. The stabbed soldier and his commander opened fire on the terrorists, killed one and critically injured the second.

Azaria caught on camera shooting the terrorist Photo Credit: B'Tselem/Channel 2 News

A few minutes later, reinforcements arrived, including army medic Elor Azaria. After treating the wounded, Azaria took his personal weapon and shot the wounded terrorist laying on the ground. A B'Tselem activist at the scene documented the incident and passed it along to the media. Hours later, Azaria was arrested.

 



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