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Israeli court to sentence soldier for killing unarmed Palestinian

An Israeli Military Court Will On Tuesday Sentence A Soldier Convicted Of The Manslaughter Of A Palestinian Attacker In A Case Which Has Stoked Passions, Debate And Protest.

PTI | Updated on: 21 Feb 2017, 02:11:38 PM
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Tel Aviv:

An Israeli military court will on Tuesday sentence a soldier convicted of the manslaughter of a Palestinian attacker in a case which has stoked passions, debate and protest.

The court last month delivered a guilty verdict against Elor Azaria, 21, for killing Abdul Fatah al-Sharif as he lay wounded.

The three-judge panel ruled there was no reason for Azaria to open fire since Sharif was posing no threat.

The March 2016 shooting in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron was caught on video and spread widely online.

It showed Sharif, 21, lying on the ground, shot along with another Palestinian after stabbing and wounding a soldier, according to the army.

Azaria then shoots him again in the head without any apparent provocation.

Azaria says he feared Sharif was wearing an explosive belt and could blow himself up, taking nearby soldiers and onlookers with him. The claim was rejected by the judges.

The offence carries a maximum sentence of 20 years but in sentencing arguments prosecutor Nadav Weisman requested he be jailed for between three and five years.

The trial opened last May at a military courtroom in Tel Aviv’s Jaffa district but later moved inside the tightly-guarded military headquarters complex in central Tel Aviv.

Police have made arrests over online death threats against a judge and other officials and the army has assigned bodyguards to the three judges who convicted Azaria.

Another man was arrested on suspicion of inciting violence against armed forces chief of staff Lieutenant General Gadi Eisenkot, who ordered the prosecution of Azaria, during a rowdy protest immediately following the verdict.

Police are prepared for fresh protests following the sentencing, spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP yesterday night.“Police are ready for any exceptional incident,” she said. “Police are prepared for any scenario, anywhere in the country.”

The case has stirred controversy and rocked Israeli politics, with some on the right defending the soldier, a French-Israeli national.

The shooting came against the backdrop of a wave of Palestinian knife, gun and car-ramming attacks that erupted in October 2015.

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First Published : 21 Feb 2017, 02:09:00 PM

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