The military prosecution on Tuesday appealed the sentence of Private (formerly Sergeant) Elor Azaria who was convicted of manslaughter for shooting dead a terrorist who had been neutralized, Walla reported. Azaria received 18 months in jail, and on Wednesday, 15 days after the sentencing, is the final date to appeal his sentence. Azaria’s new defense attorney, celebrity jurist Yoram Sheftel, has already submitted an appeal of the severity of the sentence as well as the conviction.
The prosecution’s appeal argues that the sentence was remarkably light, considering the harsh text of the unanimous conviction. “The court itself based its ruling on [precedents] which they said were superseded in severity by the defendant’s actions, and yet the punishment appears to be lighter than what would have been necessitated in light of those precedents,” the appeal argued.
The prosecution demands a minimum sentence of two and a half years, as was the minority opinion in the sentencing panel. Alternatively, the prosecution would like to go back to its own original suggestion of three to five years.
According to earlier reports, the prosecutor offered to Azaria not to appeal his relatively light sentence (the maximum for manslaughter in Israeli law is 20 years), if he withheld his own appeal and began serving his sentence. But as soon as Azaria’s attorney filed his appeal it was only a matter of time before the prosecution went back to the court to ask for a harsher verdict.
The prosecution told the court on Tuesday that a harsher sentence would deliver a clear and unambiguous message regarding the moral principles tied to the verdict, pointing out that the defendant has appealed his verdict rather than apologize and express regret for his actions.