Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotoveli (Likud) on Wednesday accused the IDF of conducting a show trial against the combat medic Sgt. Elor Azaria who was convicted of manslaughter for killing an already neutralized terrorist.
“The soldier Elor Azaria’s trial was conducted as a show trial with a predetermined end,” Hotoveli said. “In many ways his sentence was decided well in advance of the first court hearing. In such a situation it would be proper to ask the president, for the sake of justice, to pardon the soldier who did not act in a sterile zone but in a terror event.”
MK Shuli Nualem (Habayit Hayehudi) is in the process of collecting MK’s signature on a petition to be submitted to Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu), asking him to order the IDF chief of staff to pardon Sgt. Azaria, based on Article 55 of the Defense Regulations.
Mualem’s petition argues that since the shooting took place as part of a military operation it should have been investigated within the military – as opposed to the public treatment of the case by the powers that be.
“In similar cases in the past, the army supported its warriors, even if they made mistakes, and also interrogated the chain of command,” goes the petition. “Unfortunately, the process was contaminated by the involvement of outside factors, hence the decision.”
Meanwhile, Defense Minister Liberman said he did not like verdict, but stressed that “all of us are compelled to respect the court’s decision, and we all must restrain ourselves. It is crucial that despite the harsh verdict the security apparatus will aid the soldier and his family whichever way we can, to assist and facilitate.”
It should be noted that, as a member of the opposition, MK Liberman was gung-ho on letting Azaria go and even showed up at a preliminary court hearing to express his view to the press. Later, as Defense Minister, his position became milder.JNi.Media