Israel cuts jail term of soldier who killed wounded assailant

In this file photo, Israeli soldier Elor Azaria (C), who shot dead a wounded Palestinian assailant in March 2016, standing next to his mother Oshra (L) and father Charlie during a hearing at a military court in Tel Aviv. Israel's military chief of staff on September 27, 2017, reduced the sentence of Azaria convicted of manslaughter for shooting dead a prone Palestinian assailant by four months, with the case having deeply divided the country. (AFP)
Updated 27 September 2017

Israel cuts jail term of soldier who killed wounded assailant

JERUSALEM: Israel’s military on Wednesday reduced by four months the 18-month jail term of an ex-soldier who killed an incapacitated Palestinian assailant, saying his service record warranted clemency though he showed no remorse in the case.
In March 2015, infantry conscript Elor Azaria was caught on videotape shooting dead a Palestinian who was lying wounded after taking part in a stabbing attack on other Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron.
Azaria said he shot Abd Elfatah Ashareef because he feared the Palestinian could carry out another attack, but a court-martial found contradictions in the testimony and convicted him of manslaughter. The verdict was upheld on appeal.
After being discharged from the military, Azaria went to prison last month and appealed to the armed forces chief, Lt. General Gadi Eizenkot, to reconsider his sentence, citing the cost to his family of the acrimonious trial.
In a response letter made public on Wednesday, the military informed Azaria that Eizenkot had decided to cut the jail term “on grounds of compassion and mercy ... taking into account your past as a combat soldier in an operational theater.”
But the letter also faulted the former soldier over “grave actions for which you did not take responsibility and for which you did not express regret,” adding that “the important messages in the court rulings should be heeded.”
Azaria became a right-wing cause celebre in Israel, where most Jewish men and women are drafted at 18 for military service. One poll found that nearly half of Israeli Jews believe any Palestinian attacker should be killed on the spot.
The Palestinian government said Azaria’s jail term had given Israeli soldiers a “green light” to kill with impunity. Under Israeli law, manslaughter can carry a maximum 20 years behind bars. Military prosecutors had asked the appeals court to impose a three- to five-year sentence on Azaria, but were turned down.


Turkey, Russia seal deal for Karabakh ‘peacekeeping center’

Updated 01 December 2020

Turkey, Russia seal deal for Karabakh ‘peacekeeping center’

  • The deal comes after days of talks between Turkish and Russian officials about how the two regional powers would jointly implement a Moscow-brokered cease-fire
  • Technical details for setting up the joint center were concluded and an agreement was signed

ANKARA: Turkey and Russia have agreed to monitor a truce over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region from a joint peacekeeping center, Ankara’s defense ministry said on Tuesday.
The deal comes after days of talks between Turkish and Russian officials about how the two regional powers would jointly implement a Moscow-brokered cease-fire signed this month between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Technical details for setting up the joint center were concluded and an agreement was signed, the defense ministry said in a statement, adding that it would begin work “as soon as possible.”
Turkey is a staunch ally of Azerbaijan and has fervently defended its right to take back the Nagorno-Karabakh lands Baku lost to ethnic Armenian separatists in a 1988-94 war.
The truce deal ended more than six weeks of fighting that claimed more than 1,400 lives and saw ethnic Armenians agree to withdraw from large parts of the contested region of Azerbaijan.
The Turkish parliament voted this month to deploy a mission to “establish a joint center with Russia and to carry out the center’s activities.”
The deployment is set to last a year and its size will be determined by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Russia has said repeatedly that Turkey will have no troops on the ground under the truce deal’s terms.