The attorneys for IDF Sgt. Elor Azariya submitted a plea of “not guilty” Monday on the charge of manslaughter for shooting to death a wounded terrorist in Hebron.
The case revolves around a March 24 stabbing attack on an IDF soldier by two Arab terrorists. One was shot and killed immediately. The second, Fatah a-Sharif, was shot and disabled, but did not die immediately. Instead, he lay on the ground, wearing a bulky, zipped up jacket that appeared to hide a possible explosives vest. Because he was still moving it was unclear whether or not he presented a current threat.
Attorneys Ilan Katz, Eyal Beserglick, Binyamin Malcha and Karmit Scheiber listed a number of points in the Jaffa Military Court in their rebuttal to the indictment against their client.
“The defendant acted in a fraction of a second to neutralize the terrorist to prevent an attack on himself and his friends who were standing close to the terrorist. He did not see any other way to save their lives or his own. The defendant admits that the gun fire may have killed the terrorist but that it definitely neutralized him,” the attorneys responded in their plea.
“The defendant saw a situation in which, given the circumstances, the terrorist was wearing an explosive belt and carrying a knife as part of a combined attack and his movements indicated that he intended to detonate the belt on his body which could have had serious consequences,” the plea continued. This was said to the defendant “during a briefing – he thought that a real and immediate danger was being posed to him and his friends,” the attorneys went on, Ynet reported.
The terrorist had already been shot in the lung and the groin. The attorneys said the autopsy report did not rule out the question of whether his death might have been caused by those shots, given the amount of time that elapsed between those first shots and the shot to the head by Azariya.
Hana Levi Julian