Israel's Netanyahu backs pardon for convicted soldier

Elor Azaria was convicted of murdering unarmed Palestinian youth last year in occupied West Bank

Israel's Netanyahu backs pardon for convicted soldier

World Bulletin / News Desk

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has signed a petition urging President Reuven Rivlin to pardon an Israeli soldier convicted of killing an unarmed Palestinian youth last year, Israeli media has reported.

According to Israeli daily The Jerusalem Post, Netanyahu added his name to the petition -- already signed by dozens of Israeli MPs -- urging Rivlin to reconsider an earlier decision not to pardon convicted soldier Elor Azaria.

In a Tuesday statement, however, Rivlin’s office asserted that the petition letter had yet to be officially delivered.

“It is common practice to wait six months after a previous pardon request before a new one is issued,” the statement went on to point out, “unless major changes [related to the case] have occurred”.

Two weeks ago, Rivlin turned down a separate request to pardon Azaria.

In August, the convicted soldier began serving out an 18-month jail term in an Israeli military prison for killing Abdel-Fattah al-Sharif in March of last year in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron (Al-Khalil).

Azaria was initially sentenced to 18 months behind bars for killing al-Sharif -- a sentence denounced by many critics as too light.

Many on Israel's right-wing, however, said Azaria should never have been convicted in the first place.
In September, Israeli Army Chief-of-Staff Gadi Eizenkot reduced Azaria’s sentence to a mere 14 months behind bars.

Azaria became the subject of an investigation after an activist with Israeli rights group B'Tselem captured him on film fatally shooting al-Sharif -- unarmed and injured -- in the head.

The ensuing high-profile legal case led to a fissure in the Israeli government after the army took the rare step of investigating an Israeli soldier for killing a Palestinian.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 29 Kasım 2017, 01:06