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Court sentences soldier to only 18 months in jail
Israeli Soldier Gets Only 18 Months in Jail for Killing Wounded Palestinian
After being found guilty of manslaughter for the filmed, execution-style shooting of 21-year-old Abd al-Fattah al-Sharif, 20-year-old Israeli soldier Elor Azarya was only sentenced to 18 months in prison, a year’s probation, and a demotion in his military rank on Tuesday, a court ruling that would give a green light to all Israeli soldiers to execute anyone they like.
The prosecution had sought a three- to five-year prison sentence for the killing, with the maximum sentence for manslaughter being 20 years in prison, Ma’an news agency reported.
The sentence was scheduled to begin on March 5, though Azarya’s defense team said it would submit an appeal to block the sentence, saying it had a “good chance” and “nothing to lose,” according to reports from Israeli media from inside the courtroom.
After al-Sharif and Ramzi Aziz al-Qasrawi, also 21, allegedly carried out a stabbing attack on another soldier in the Southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron last March, al-Qasrawi was fatally shot, while al-Sharif was shot and left severely wounded on the ground for several minutes before Azarya stepped forward and shot him in the head, with a number of witnesses quoting him as saying “This dog is still alive” and “This terrorist deserves to die” before pulling the trigger.
After the shooting, a video footage of the incident surfaced on the internet and went viral, prompting a military police investigation into the case.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and right-wing ministers called for pardoning the soldier.
The incident occurred at a tense time between Israelis and Palestinians, amid a spate of violence in the West Bank and Israel, which has claimed the lives of at least 240 Palestinians and 34 Israelis since Sept. 2015.
The court’s ruling was a rare case of convicting a soldier for killing a Palestinian, but again it is seen as a general go-ahead to all soldiers to kill even fatally wounded Palestinians.
A guilty verdict would be followed by capital punishment or life imprisonment in an overwhelming majority of the world states.
Israeli commanders said in sarcastic remarks that Azarya’s punishment displays the Zionist army’s respect for “code of ethics”!
Angry Palestinians as well as human rights bodies believe that the court ruling is “a mockery of justice”.
Brigadier Gen Meir Elran (ret.) and Sharon Nahari
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