The military appeals court at the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv approved the defense’s request to postpone the beginning of Elor Azaria’s imprisonment, which was originally scheduled for this Sunday.

Elor Azaria in court

Elor Azaria in court Photo Credit: Channel 2 News

The military appeals court at the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv decided today (Thursday) that IDF Sergeant Elor Azaria, who was convicted of manslaughter for shooting a neutralized terrorist in Hebron and sentenced to 18 months in prison, will not start his prison sentence this Sunday. The hearing to delay the beginning of Azaria’s sentence was held at the defense’s request. Once the military’s prosecutor’s office acquiesced, the judge agreed that Azaria would remain in open detention at a military base until a ruling is made on the appeal filed by his attorney.

At the outset of the hearing, prosecutor Lieutenant Colonel (Res.) Nadav Weisman stressed that the prosecution wants Azaria to begin serving his sentence without delay. “A defendant whose sentence has been ruled must begin to serve his sentence immediately,” said Weisman, who went on to quote from Azaria’s verdict. Judge Colonel Orly Markman countered: “The soldier has been in open detention for a long time already and is behaving appropriately.” Weisman responded that: “We cannot forget that the soldier was convicted of a serious offense and it was concluded that he is unreliable.”

Earlier today, associates of Azaria’s outgoing defense team, attorneys Eyal Besserglick, Ilan Katz and Carmit Shchiver, attacked the decision to appeal the manslaughter conviction, claiming that the appeal would cause the prosecution to submit an appeal of its own against the light sentence that Azaria received. “Their patience is wearing thin,” said the associates, adding that “they are only looking out for Elor’s best interests.”