An Israeli soldier who was found guilty of manslaughter for the execution-style shooting of an unarmed Palestinian who lay injured on the floor has been sentenced to 18 months in jail.
Twenty-year-old Elor Azarya was filmed as he shot Abdul-Fattah Al-Sharif at point-blank range after the Palestinian had already been shot and severely wounded in March 2016, In addition to the jail term handed to him; he was given a year’s probation and demoted.
Azarya’s defence team said it would appeal the ruling within the next 15 days, saying it had a “good chance” and “nothing to lose”, Israeli media reported.
The soldier was quoted as saying, moment before pulling the trigger: “This dog is still alive” and “This terrorist deserves to die”.
Leading up to the announcement of the sentence, the panel of three judges weighed the “complexity” and “competing values” of the case; while they agreed that Azarya acted with the intent to kill and not because he felt threatened, a two-judge majority believed the “unique post-terror attack” atmosphere should work heavily in his favour. Al-Sharif is said to have attempted to carry out a stabbing attack on Israeli soldiers before being shot and injured.
Judges called for leniency due to the fact that it was Azarya’s first time in a “terror situation”, and also noted the alleged mismanagement of the scene by Israeli commanders at the scene, who later went on to give harsh testimonies against the young soldier.
The judges said that the prosecution had successfully argued that Azarya had failed to show regret throughout the trial, while Azarya also violated the so-called purity of arms value enshrined in the Israeli army’s code of ethics.
They also said that the months Azarya has spent in open detention on an Israeli military base would not be deducted from his sentence, but would be taken into account “on some level”.