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January 23, 2017 / 25 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Clemency’

PM Netanyahu: I Support Clemency for Elor Azaria

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a brief statement at 8 pm Wednesday evening, one that was unusually short and to this point in addressing the events of the day regarding the conviction of IDF Sgt. Elor Azaria on charges of manslaughter in the shooting death of Hebron attacker Abdel Fattah el-Sharif, after treating the soldier stabbed by the terrorist.

“been a difficult, painful day for us all. First and foremost for Elor and his family, for the soldiers of Israel, for the many Israeli civilians and the parents of our soldiers, and for me among them all.

“I call upon all Israeli civilians to behave responsibly with regard to the Israel Defense Forces, their commanding officers and their Chief of General Staff. We have one army upon which our existence depends. IDF soldiers are our sons and daughters, and they must remain above all conflicts.

“I support clemency for Elor Azaria,” he declared bluntly.

The statement ran on all social media. Beneath the three brief paragraphs, in smaller letters, the prime minister repeated his proclamation: “I support clemency for Elor Azaria.”

Hana Levi Julian

Clarification on Pardons Issued by President Rivlin’s Office

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

The office of President Reuven Rivlin issued a clarification on the subject of presidential pardons late in the day on Wednesday, following calls by Knesset members from both sides of the political spectrum to grant IDF Sgt. Elor Azaria clemency after being convicted of manslaughter for having shot and killed an injured terrorist who stabbed a fellow soldier in Hebron.

“In light of several inquirers,” the statement said the President’s Office wished to clarify that in accordance with “standard practice regarding requests for pardons on this or any case, requests for pardons are dealt with when submitted by the applicant themselves, or by one with power of attorney, or an immediate relative, following a conclusive judicial ruling.

“In light of the foregoing, and in relation to the case of the soldier Elor Azaria, in the event that a pardon should be requested, it will be considered by the President in accordance with standard practices and after recommendations from the relevant authorities,” the office wrote.

Hana Levi Julian

Defense Minister Urges Acceptance of Guilty Verdict, Lawmakers Call on President Rivlin to Pardon IDF Sgt. Elor Azaria

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

Within minutes after IDF Sgt. Elor Azaria was pronounced guilty of manslaughter in the death of an injured terrorist who had stabbed a fellow soldier, lawmakers were calling on the public to accept the verdict, but also urged President Reuven Rivlin to grant a presidential pardon.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman told reporters after the verdict was announced, “This is a difficult ruling.”

But he said, “We have to accept the court’s ruling on Azaria even if we don’t like it.” Sgt. Azaria is the first Israeli soldier in 12 years to be convicted for actions on duty.

Education Minister and Bayit Yehudi party chairman were the first to call for an immediate pardon for the soldier, as did Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, chairman of the Shas party. “The court has done its job,” Deri tweeted. “I respect its verdict. But now the correct thing to do is pardon him. The process of the trial and the suffering of the soldier and his family justify a pardon.”

Likud MK Oren Hazan also called for amnesty for Sgt. Azaria, as did Zionist Union MK Shelly Yachimovich, who said in a statement to media that the court acted professionally and bravely in its conviction but added the guilty verdict would deeply divide the nation.

“Azaria’s narrow shoulders will not be able to withstand the weight of that divide,” she said. For that reason, she said, President Rivlin should consider exercising his privilege to issue a pardon.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog also added his voice to the chorus, saying in a statement that although the verdict must be respected, “it cannot be ignored that to some degree, Azaria was a victim of the situation. But the ruling strengthens the IDF, since you cannot ignore the circumstances of the incident, which reflect an impossible reality in a field that is complicated, which IDF soldiers deal with daily, hourly.”

“Immediate clemency for Elor Azaria,” Bennett wrote on his Facebook page.

“We need to say the truth. The trial was corrupted from the outset. The harsh comments by political leaders even before the opening of the army’s investigation, the removal of the soldier, himself from the investigation process, the critical media coverage surrounding the case caused Elor irreparable harm.

“I expect Defense Minister Yvette (Avigdor) Liberman to keep his many promises and secure an immediate pardon for Elor Azaria, so that he does not have to spend a single day in prison.”

Likud Culture Minister Miri Regev also called for a presidential pardon, saying that she too would seek a discussion with President Rivlin to raise the issue on behalf of Elor Azaria. Regev, a former IDF spokesperson, accused the army of abandoning Azaria and attacked the IDF chief of staff – who rejected a public campaign slogan depicting him as “everyone’s child” – specifically for not backing him up. Regev underlined that in fact, Azaria is not only “everyone’s child,” but in fact is also “everyone’s soldier.”

The soldier has been living on his army base under an “open arrest” arrangement.

Hana Levi Julian

Pres. Reuven Rivlin to Review Katzav Request for Clemecy

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

President Reuven Rivlin is facing a politically delicate situation when he soon will be forced to decide whether or not to grant clemency to former president Moshe Katzav, currently serving a prison term for rape and other sexual offenses.

The president’s office issued a statement Sunday saying no formal request has yet been received, but that if and when it is, the president will give the request the same due consideration he gives all such requests, and will consult with all the relevant authorities.

Katzav has never acknowledged his guilt despite his conviction on the charges, nor has he ever expressed remorse.

He was denied early parole on April 6 after applying to the parole board earlier this year.

The parole board committee stated at the time, “The prisoner views himself as a victim. He is blaming external factors for his situation, still conducting himself in an aggressive manner and is self-centered, focusing on his own needs and losses and on the price he and his family have paid.

“Even in response to our questions, the prisoner did not show regret or empathy for his victims, and continued to mention the heavy price he paid and continues to pay.”

He is serving a seven-year sentence after his conviction in 2010 on charges of rape, sexual harassment and indecent assault.

Hana Levi Julian

Obama Promises Peres A-G Will ‘Check Into’ Pollard

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

U.S. President Barack Obama assured Israel’s outgoing President Shimon Peres on Wednesday he would ask Attorney-General Eric Holder to “check into” an offer that Peres made regarding the case of former Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard.

Peres’s office submitted his request to the White House prior to arriving for what will be his last official state visit as Israel’s president.

“I made an offer but won’t go into details about it,” he told reporters on Wednesday. However, he did discuss the specifics with members of the Pollard family, he said, before presenting the plan to Obama.

“If I share too many details it will just ruin things,” he said at the briefing. “I cannot say that [the president] responded positively on the spot. I don’t want to add to what he said, which was that the U.S. Attorney-General would decide.”

Pollard is entering his 29th year of incarceration in a North Carolina prison after being convicted in 1985 on a single charge of passing classified information to an allied nation, Israel. The crime usually carries a maximum penalty of up to four years in jail. But although Pollard’s attorneys worked out a plea bargain with the prosecution, during the sentencing a note was passed to the judge. Suddenly Pollard was charged with and convicted of treason without recourse to a new trial. His attorney had no access to the evidence that had apparently led to the new charges, which was locked due to “national security” — and instead Pollard found himself sentenced to life in prison. All attempts at appeal have since failed.

Since Peres was serving as Israel’s prime minister at the time of Pollard’s arrest, and since it was he who submitted the documents to the U.S. with Pollard’s fingerprints that were used to incriminate him, it is Peres who is most likely to persuade Obama now to grant clemency for humanitarian reasons.

He and Obama also share a unique status as being the only two current heads of state in the world who are both Nobel Peace Prize winners.

Pollard’s health has deteriorated significantly over the past several years, and the request by Peres is reportedly to be based on the issues of Pollard’s extremely poor health, the impact on his wife, and the length of his time already served — in short, humanitarian reasons. At age 90, Peres this year retires from politics and made a promise to Pollard’s wife and the people of Israel prior to his departure that he would try to win her husband’s release during his visit to the U.S. He is scheduled to meet again with Obama Thursday.

Hana Levi Julian

Elliott Abrams Calls for Pollard’s Release

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

Elliott Abrams, a former U.S. deputy national security advisor, said Jonathan Pollard should be released from prison.

“I think that there is a just and a humanitarian case for his release,” Abrams told i24 news, an international 24-hour news and current affairs television channel based in Tel Aviv, in an interview Friday.

Pollard is in the 29th year of a life sentence in a U.S. prison for spying for Israel while a civilian U.S. Navy analyst.

“I don’t think he’s a hero,” Abrams told i24, “but the way to judge it is by the normal treatment like other cases of espionage and it’s hard to find someone — particularly in the case of a friendly country — that has been imprisoned for 29 years.”

Abrams served as deputy national security advisor under President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2009.

An increasing number of figures involved in government when Pollard was given his life sentence in 1987 now say his sentence should be commuted. The calls to release Pollard have intensified in the last year, with pleas from lawmakers and former top officials of both U.S. political parties.

The Anti-Defamation League’s national director, Abraham Foxman, last week said the continued imprisonment of Pollard is “on the verge of anti-Semitism.”

Pollard is up for parole in less than two years.

JTA

Peres Commutes Sentence of 6 Israeli-Arab Killers of IDF Soldiers

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

During the coming months, the Israeli Prison Service is expected to decide on the release of 6 Israeli-Arabs who committed murderous terror attacks. The first review is expected as early as September 17, according to a report in Makor Rishon.

Following the Shalit deal, in which 1,027 terrorists were released in exchange for an Israeli IDF soldier held hostage by Hamas, Israeli President Shimon Peres shortened the prison terms of at least 6 Israeli-Arabs, in jail for terror attacks. Two of the terrorists, Mahar Yunis and Karim Yunis, killed IDF soldier Avraham Greenberg in the 1980s. Four others, Ibrahim Biadsa, Valid Daka, Rushdi Abu-Moch and Ibrahim Abu-Moch killed IDF soldier Moshe Tamam, also in the ’80s.

In addition, in February 2014, another terrorist, Halaf Gumah Ahmad, who killed Israeli citizen Hanan Gur, is expected to be released.

These and other pre-Oslo terrorists were on the list that PA President Abu Mazin demanded be released following the Shalit deal.

These six terrorists were originally given death sentences, which were commuted to life in prison.

But a year and a half ago, Peres and the Pardons Department in the Ministry of Justice decided to commute their life sentences to 35 and 40 years – putting them on the fast track to being released.

Relatives of the murdered men met with attorney Emi Palmor, Director of the Dept. of Pardons in the Ministry of Justice, but she couldn’t provide satisfactory answers to the families as to why the men were being released. Israel’s internal security service, the Shabak, has also recommended that these particular prisoners not be released, and the presidential gesture is also being contested by the Netanyahu government, which was bypassed in the decision.

Two taboos were broken when the decision was made to start releasing these particular terrorists. The first one was releasing Israeli-Arabs in order to appease the Palestinian Authority, and the second was releasing terrorists who murdered IDF soldiers.

Some government officials are claiming that the decision to release these terrorists is purely professional. For 25 years they were denied pardons, while other murderers have been released after shorter stints behind bars.

There is still a chance that these six terrorists won’t be released, as they don’t meet the typical release criteria, one of which is expressing regret for their actions, something most of these terrorists haven’t done.

Shalom Bear

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/peres-pardons-6-arab-killers-of-idf-soldiers/2013/09/07/

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