Azaria's sentence cut by third, to be released May 10
Elor Azaria, who was convicted of manslaughter after shooting dead a seriously wounded Palestinian terrorist, asked the court to cut his sentence by half and release him immediately; he will instead complete two-thirds of his term before being released in less than two months.
The military parole board decided Monday to cut a third of the sentence given to former soldier Elor Azaria, who was convicted of manslaughter after shooting dead a seriously wounded Palestinian terrorist in Hebron.
Azaria, who has served seven of his 14-month sentence, is expected to be released on May 10.
Azaria's sister Etti slammed the decision, saying "There is no reason to be happy, friends, they refused had and tried to pretty it up with the third!!! The third has nothing to do with them!!!!!! Shame, shame, shame that my family has to hear about it through the media!!!"
His cousin Victor was also unhappy with the decision. "The child needs to continue sitting in prison for another month and a half, if not more. The prosecutors are leftists. No trust in anyone in the government. We won't forgive and won't forget this," he wrote on Facebook.
The military court heard Azaria's request for early release last week. "I shot a murderous terrorist, release me today," he told the court.
"The sooner this affair ends, the better it will be for everyone," said Yoram Sheftel, Azaria's attorney. "Azaria has been in a constant and ceaseless nightmare for two years."
The Military Advocate General's Office, which was opposed to cutting Azaria's sentence by half, said it would not object to cutting it by a third.
"Azaria was convicted of a serious offense of manslaughter. The offense was carried out with intention and not out of negligence or mistake, according to the determination of the court," said prosecutor, Col. Sharon Zagagi-Pinhas. "Throughout the proceedings, the prisoner has not taken responsibility for his actions, nor did he express regret. We haven't heard that today either; and this morning we even heard a certain degree of rejection of the appeal court's ruling. The court determined Azaria's actions could damage the strength of the IDF."
IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot reduced Azaria's sentence by four months in September. “Your conduct was unacceptable and was contrary to the army's command and values of the IDF,” Eisenkot wrote at the time, qualifying the sympathy behind his decision.
The IDF chief further rebuked Azaria for “the fact that you didn’t take responsibility for your actions and that you never expressed regret.”
Last November, President Reuven Rivlin rejected Azaria's pardon request. At the time, Rivlin noted that "taking all considerations into account ... an additional lightening of your sentence would harm the resilience to the Israel Defense Forces and the State of Israel. The values of the Israel Defense Forces, and among them the Purity of Arms, are the core foundation of the strength of the Israel Defense Forces, and have always stood strong for us in the just struggle for our right to a safe, national home, and in the building a robust society."