Israel's military prosecution appeals Hebron killer soldier sentence

Huang Panyue

JERUSALEM, March 7 (Xinhua) -- Israel's military prosecution appealed Tuesday against the 18-month jail punishment that was sentenced to the solider for shooting dead a wounded, incapacitated Palestinian youth.

The prosecutors charged that the penalty, given by the Jaffa military court on Feb. 21 to Elor Azaria who was convicted of manslaughter, was too light.

"The easy sentence imposed on (Azaria) was not consistent with the severity of his acts and with the punishment usually practiced in similar cases," the appeal read.

During the trial, the prosecution asked the court to sentence Azaria for 30-48 months.

Azaria was convicted of shooting and unlawful killing of Abdel al-Fattah Yusri al-Sharif, 21, in the neighborhood of Tel Rumeida in the West Bank city of Hebron on March 24 last year.

Azaria was a 19-year-old army medic soldier at the time of the shooting.

According to the verdict, the incident took place after al-Sharif and another Palestinian, Ramzi Aziz al-Qasarwi, stabbed a soldier, wounding him lightly.

Troops opened fire at them, killing al-Qasarwi and seriously injuring Al-Sharif. Al-Sharif was laying on the ground, immobilized, for about 30 minutes, before Azaria approached him and shot to his head.

After the shooting, a video footage of the incident surfaced on the internet and went viral, prompting a military police investigation into the case.

The court's ruling was a rare case of conviction of a soldier for killing a Palestinian person.

The case stirred a polarized public debate in Israel, with many political leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, calling to Azaria to be pardon.

According to figures released by Human Rights Watch on Wednesday, since October 2015, there have been at least 150 instances in which Israeli security forces have fatally shot Palestinians suspected of carrying out attacks.





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