Israeli soldier freed after serving nine months for manslaughter

Elor Azaria was initially sentenced to 18 months in prison for the 2016 killing of Abdul Fatah al-Sharif in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron.

Published: 08th May 2018 12:17 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th May 2018 12:17 PM   |  A+A-

Palestinian protesters run to take cover from teargas during clashes with Israeli troops along the Gaza's border with Israel (File | AP)

By AFP

JERUSALEM: An Israeli soldier convicted of manslaughter for shooting dead a prone Palestinian assailant was freed from prison on today, the army said, after serving nine months behind bars.

Elor Azaria was initially sentenced to 18 months in prison for the 2016 killing of Abdul Fatah al-Sharif in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron.

Armed forces chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot later reduced the term by four months and in March a parole board ordered a further cut.

The army had previously said that Azaria was due to be released on May 10.

Israeli media said he was freed two days early from Tzrifim military prison, near Tel Aviv, to allow him to attend his brother's wedding.

"I can confirm that he was released," an army spokseman told AFP on today.

Prisoners in Israel often have their sentences cut by a third for good behaviour. Azaria, who was 19 at the time of the 2016 shooting, began serving his sentence on August 9.

The shooting incident was caught on video by a human rights group and spread widely online.

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

Some 11 minutes after the initial shooting, Azaria, a sergeant and military medic at the time of the incident, shot him in the head without any apparent provocation.

He said he feared Sharif was wearing an explosive belt and could blow himself up, a claim judges rejected.

The trial captivated Israel and highlighted deep divisions in public opinion between those who denounced the shooting and others who said it was justified.

Senior army officers strongly denounced Azaria's actions, but right-wing politicians, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, called for him to be pardoned.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp