Photo: Abigail Uzi
Elor Azaria in court
Photo: Abigail Uzi

Prosecution: sentence Azaria to 3-5 years in prison and a demotion to private

Prosecutor in the trial of Elor Azaria to request a reduced sentence, claiming 'we need to see things in a balanced manner'; defense requests that Azaria serve no days in prison, or a maximum of 2 years.

The Military Advocate General is set to ask the Military Court for the lower limit of the penalty range, between three and five years, for Elor Azaria, who was convicted about a month ago of manslaughter and inappropriate conduct, after shooting a neutralized terrorist in Hebron a year ago. They are also going to demand Azaria's demotion to the rank of private and a probation period.



"The court issued a detailed, unequivocal verdict, which sent a clear message to the military and to society with regard to appropriate norms of operation," said the prosecutor. "The punishment deals with a more extensive range of topics than those discussed in the verdict, including damaged values in the overall circumstances surrounding the case. It also establishes a defense to criminal liability for the defendant, his family, and so on."



Azaria with his parents in court (Photo: Abigail Uzi)
Azaria with his parents in court (Photo: Abigail Uzi)


The prosecutor, Lt. Col. Nadav Weisman, stated that the "court determined the shooting as intentional based on the terrorist's prior actions and not out of a sense of danger to himself. These statements depict a high degree of culpability. The defendant operated with intent, which is the highest degree of criminal offense and the court established that."


He added that "Azaria put himself in the position of judge and jury and executed his decision, which is extremely serious and has very few precedents, a fact that is a contravention of the the rule of law. No man is authorized to do that. The Supreme Court determined that the blood of a violent criminal is no more crimson than the blood of others. The defendant abused his power and authority and his presence at the scene for an erroneous objective. The defendant damaged the military operation."


The prosecutor, Lt. Col. Nadav Weisman (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
The prosecutor, Lt. Col. Nadav Weisman (Photo: Motti Kimchi)


"At the same time," Weisman continued to emphasize his point, "it is quite clear that the committed felony was not the result of premeditation, rather a malicious spur of the moment afterthought following a terror attack in which his close friend was injured.


"The defendant was not wrong in considering the terrorist dangerous. He shot the terrorist because he had attacked his friends and wounded one of them, but we are uncertain as to the precise moment in which the defendant formed his criminal intent. It is possible to give him the benefit of the doubt and presume that it was an immediate, spur of the moment decision. The fact that the blood of Azaria's friend was still fresh on his hands may be taken into consideration."


Speaking briefly before the judges panel, Sgt. Elor Azaria said, "After ten months of torture inflicted on myself and my family, which has fallen apart, I ask that the court to sentence me in the spirit of leniency."


Azaria was described by his commanders as a quiet introvert with no prior convictions, who always followed his orders in a calm and quiet manner, he pointed out. 


Col. Guy Hazut (Photo: Shaul Golan)
Col. Guy Hazut (Photo: Shaul Golan)


Earlier today, Col. Guy Hazut, Kfir brigade commander stated in his testimony during Azaria's trial that "Elor is not my enemy." Hazut said this following his conversation three weeks ago with the soldier's father, Charlie, who had recorded the conversation, leading to tumultuous proceedings.  


"This is my fighter, my soldier, Elor shouldn't do 20 years in prison, nor ten years, and not even seven years. This is an unusual occurrence and he was an excellent soldier," said Hazut.


Last week, the judges led by Col. Maya Heller listened for the first time to the full conversation between Hazut and Azaria's father. The conversation took place in the Zrifin military base after Azaria's conviction. The judges dubbed the conversation as "disturbing" and "a dark cloud that needs to be removed for the sake of public interest," while the defense counsellors claimed it was an illegal action and that it may disrupt court proceedings.


At the beginning of his testimony, Col. Hazut said to the defense attorneys: "I felt strange over needing to meet with you. On record, you were overtly proud for setting me up in the last few weeks. I am a colonel and commander, Elor is not my enemy. He is under my command and is still wearing the brigade's barrette."


The colonel added that Azaria was chosen to serve as a Battalion medic, a position given for excellence in performance.


Azaria's family was visibly upset throughout the proceedings, but Azaria himself let a tiny smile slip following the prosecution's request for a reduced sentence.


For their part, Azaria's defense team requested from Judge Heller that Azaria receive either no days in prison, or one lasting for anywhere up to two years. Furthermore, they asked that the days he had already spent on his military base throughout the protracted trial be considered as part of any prison sentence handed down. 


Azaria's sentence is due to be handed down during the second half of February.


פרסום ראשון: 01.31.17, 23:22
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