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January 18, 2017 / 20 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘trial’

Don’t Judge the Soldiers

Monday, January 9th, 2017

The video of Jewish soldiers running away during the Armon Hanatziv terror attack was difficult to watch.

Realistic or not, we expect our soldiers to be well trained, physically, and, more important, mentally, to charge and engage the enemy.

It’s all too easy to ignore that these soldiers are inexperienced teenagers, some with more training, most with less. And yet we expect them to respond properly, effectively and professionally to bewildering situations on a level of competence we’d expect from seasoned combat veterans.

The IDF has to invest a lot of time and effort to train combat soldiers to charge the enemy and then pull the trigger. For most people it’s not a natural act.

Most of the soldiers in the Armon Hanatziv attack had had minimal combat training, and were designated for deployment in office positions, “Jobnikim,” in IDF slang.

In addition, it would be foolish to assume that the Elor Azaria trial which has torn up the country for close to a year did not impede their reaction time, compelling them to think ten times before charging and opening fire.

However in a civilian milieu, even experienced security personnel must think three times before pulling the trigger, in case their target is actually an innocent civilian.

There were mistakes made yesterday, just like there were mistakes made in Hebron, including mistakes made by Azaria’s officers, going all the way up the chain of command.

There were also heroes.

Lessons will be be learned from this incident, just as the IDF learned from previous ones. There will be investigations and consequences, as there should be.

Unfortunately, our suicidal enemy will still invent new, different and evil way to attack us.

In our war against Islamic terror, we must not drag our soldiers to court like common criminals, or shame them in social media.

Sgt. Elor Azaria last March and the soldiers in Armon HaNatziv on Sunday had to deal with an evil enemy in a very complicated situation, and whether or not their responses were picture perfect, or even warranted, they were acting in the service of our country. To treat them any other way is to invite more confusion and, inevitably, more victims of terrorism.

 


May all our wounded soldiers have a Refuah Sheleimah – a healthy and complete recovery.

 

Stephen Leavitt

Deputy Minister Hotoveli: It Was Show Trial

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

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

Trial Starts for Sheriff Who Threatened to Shoot Prosecutor Between his ‘Jewish Eyes’

Monday, October 31st, 2016

The trial of Louisiana Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal for beating prisoners and then covering up his actions starts this week in federal court, AP reported Sunday, noting that the case against Ackal and his underlings has raised racial tensions and did away with whatever had been left of the public’s trust in local police.

Roberta Boudreaux, of the Committee to Elect Iberia Parish Sheriff, who ran against Ackal last year, told AP that her community was “very fortunate not to have an uprising in our parish.” Ackal, 73, remains in office despite the trial, but he has been barred from carrying a gun.

The indictment accuses the sheriff of using “racially derogatory language” when two narcotics agents told him they got drunk and attacked two young black men in 2008, and instructed them to lie about the incident. He is also accused of ordering a supervisor to delete the agents’ names from a report on the attack. He is also accused of ordering his men to beat up prisoners in 2011. Ackal faces a prison sentence if he is convicted of the charges of conspiracy and depriving prisoners of their constitutional rights.

Ackal is also accused of threatening to shoot a federal prosecutor investigating his case between his “Jewish eyes.” The threat was allegedly captured on tape.

David Israel

Soldier Stabbed in Azaria Case Testifies: I Heard There Was an Explosive Charge

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

The defense continued to call its witnesses at a military court in Jaffa Sunday, in the case of IDF medic Sgt. Elor Azaria, who is facing manslaughter charges for killing a terrorist who had already been neutralized, Walla reported. The day began with the soldier who was the victim of the stabbing attack by the two terrorists at a check post in Hebron. Later in the day the court will hear from MDA Director Eli Bin.

The soldier testified that the two Arab terrorists raised the suspicion of the check post soldiers because they both were wearing heavy coats and did not stop at the metal detector. After being attacked and injured, the witness said he shot the terrorist and thought he was dead, but then he heard people crying that the terrorist was carrying an explosive charge.

The witness described the main dangers IDF soldiers face at the check posts as being stabbings and explosives. He said the two Arabs “came close to my post and I identify that something is out of the ordinary — they didn’t stop at the line, and tried to avoid the metal detector. As soon as the company commander ordered them to stop and go back, they stood and stared at each other. I put my hand on my weapon, one of them pulled out a knife and ran at the company commander to try to stab him. The company commander followed the blocking protocol and shot the terrorist. Meanwhile, as I was asking where was the second terrorist, I felt two stabs in my shoulder and my arm.”

At that point the witness said he shot the terrorist. “I turn around and while I’m falling I shoot three bullets at him and he’s fleeing. I thought he still posed danger, maybe he was going to blow up a charge. I ran after him, following the blocking protocol. He turns back and starts running at me and I hear three shots and the terrorist falls down. Since I didn’t know if he had explosives on him I didn’t want to take a chance, I tried to shoot him and didn’t succeed. Then I thought he was dead and went to report the incident over the com. When I was inside the ambulance I heard the cries about the explosive charge and became very tense as a result.”

The witness described a chaotic scene in which “no one took charge, no one gave orders.” He told the court that the defendant, Sgt. Azaria “was standing next to me, I think he turned towards the terrorist and looked in his direction. There was a lot of pressure in the scene.”

The witness also told the court that the IDF reneged on a decision to award him a certificate of appreciation for his performance while being wounded. He reported asking the deputy brigade commander why he wasn’t receiving the award and the latter did not offer a clear explanation, other than to say “the IDF is a bit chincy on these matters.”

As to his own relationship with the defendant, the witness said they “enlisted together, went through training together, did everything together. He is a very generous man and always likes to give, no matter when and how. He’s a soldier that no matter what’s the mission, he always does it without showing it when it’s tough. A man of values and tolerance.”

David Israel

Former Deputy Chief of Staff: Every Day Sgt. Azaria Is on Trial Damages the IDF

Monday, September 19th, 2016

Former Deputy Chief of Staff Gen (Res.) Uzi Dayan, who at one point was head of the IDF Central Command and is a nephew of the late Moshe Dayan, told a military court in Jaffa on Monday it should not have been involved in the case of shooting medic Sgt. Elor Azaria in the first place.

“I don’t know if the soldier sinned or not,” Gen. Dayan, a witness for the defense, stressed. “I’m concerned about the soldiers on the ground. Every such [court trial] day is causing more damage to the IDF.” He then turned to the judges and said, “It’s still not too late to reach a plea bargain, the damage to the Army is enormous.”

Gen. Dayan testified that, in his opinion, “every terrorist has a death sentence on his head, regardless of whether or not they pose a risk at the moment.”

The man who commanded the Hebron region at one point and served as National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister, said there should not have been a military police investigation of the case, nor a consequent involvement of the military prosecution, and certainly no trial. He also told the court that in his entire career he never permitted the military police to investigate an operational event.

“The military police does not have the tools needed to investigate operational events,” Gen. Dayan told the panel of three military judges. “It’s a shame that instead of using the tool of an investigating committee, they rolled it straight to the criminal arena. If a warrior makes a mistake, we don’t roll it over to the criminal realm, unless an insidious motive is involved.”

When the prosecutor asked if the rules of engagement don’t forbid killing a terrorist simply because he is a terrorist, Gen. Dayan responded, “This is patently wrong. What’s relevant are the mission instructions. I ordered to kill terrorists simply because they were terrorists, regardless of whether they endangered or didn’t endanger. … Terrorists must be killed. Is it under any condition? No, that’s true. But as to the question of whether terrorists should be killed, the answer is yes.”

At the end of his testimony, Gen. Dayan told the judges, “Many eyes are trained on you. The issue is under an unprecedented public debate, which means that your decision bears an enormous significance.”

Gen. (Res.) Dan Biton, who also testified for the defense, warned the court in a written affidavit that “there was a command failure on the part of the brigade commander, battalion commander and company commander.” He added, “In my opinion the company commander was in a trauma as a result of the shooting. This case represents a fault line. A wrong decision would lead to a situation whereby every soldier would be afraid to open fire to save a life.”

JNi.Media

Duma Arson Trial Postponed as Defense Attorneys Resign, Citing Interference

Friday, September 16th, 2016

The Central District Court has postponed the starting date for the trial of three defendants accused of perpetrating the Arson killing in the Village of Duma in Judea and Samaria July 31, 2015, and canceled five evidentiary hearings scheduled for September, the first of which was to begin Sunday, Makor Rishon reported Friday. The court will convene on Sept. 26 to set new dates for the canceled sessions.

The reason for the postponement was the resignation of attorneys Yoram Sheftel and Yitzhak Bam who represent the key defendant, Amiram Ben Oliel. The two attorneys resigned after they had discovered they could not conduct face to face meetings in the same room with their client, and would be restricted to meeting through a glass partition. They were also forbidden to conduct phone conversations with their client.

“They presented us with impossible conditions they don’t impose on any other defendant,” attorney Sheftel told Makor Rishon. “It’s all done with full backup from the prosecution and the court, who refuse to instruct the Prisons Authority to permit us to meet with our client the way all attorneys are allowed to meet with their clients. The court in effect prevents Ben Oliel from receiving the representation he wants and needs, making him face a fait accompli.

Following the resignation of Ben Oliel’s team, the court appointed him a public defender, but he announced that he refuses to cooperate with them and with the court procedures unless he gets his old team back.

Attorney Bam said Shabak is trying to “hide the torture they used against the defendant to squeeze a confession out of him, by sabotaging his defense, to make sure their crimes aren’t exposed in court.”

The prosecution issued a s statement saying Ben Oliel is a terror suspect, and as such his meetings with his attorneys must be conducted through a partition.

David Israel

Defense Witnesses in Hebron Shooting Trial Accuses Ya’alon of Meddling

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

The trial of IDF medic Elor Azaria, who shot dead an Arab terrorist in Hebron last Purim after the latter had already been felled to the ground, was resumed Sunday morning after a month’s break. The defense plans to introduce four new witnesses, most likely local civilians who were present at the scene at the time of the shooting.

The first defense witness to take the stand Sunday morning was Eliyahu Liebman, Hebron’s Security Officer for the past 22 years, who received a commendation from the IDF chief of staff back in 2002 for his role in protecting Jewish worshipers from Arab attackers during the second Intifada. Liebman said the IDF and the media presented an inaccurate picture of reality at the time of the shooting. He accused them of painting a target around Azaria after the fact. He recalled a phone conversation from a person in former defense minister Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon’s circle who told Liebman that “Bogie told him even the Hebron Security Officer thinks the shooting was invalid. He asked if this was true, I answered it was a complete lie.”

Liebman testified that he had not been questioned by military police following the incident, and that other security officers had been skipped by investigators. He told the court, “I suspect that in this case we weren’t just accidentally not summoned for questioning, and it looks like it had to do with the comments by then Defense Minister Ya’alon following the shooting incident.”

Ya’alon, as well as IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, openly chastised the defendant well before the investigation of the case had even begun.

Liebman testified that the removal of the terrorist’s body was done in a manner contrary to protocol. “The terrorist was taken away without being checked and contrary to the professional opinion of the sappers. It put in risk anyone who carried him until the moment the sappers checked him and ruled him clear.”

Azaria’s defense team has announced it would present several witnesses the prosecution opted to skip, noting that “the indictment mentions 77 witnesses, out of whom the prosecution chose to hear 22, when it realized that its own witnesses … utterly contradict its version of events.” The defense will endeavor to complete the picture as the prosecution should have done, suggesting it is “convinced once the full picture and not a partial and twisted picture is presented, things will be clarified at the court room.”

The task of the defense is to repair the damage caused by the confrontational testimony given by the defendant Azaria. He was baited by the chief prosecutor and was unable to explain blatant contradictions between different statements he had given regarding the shooting. He introduced a new claim, an accusation that his company commander slapped him after the shooting, an element he had never before mentioned. He also accused his battalion commander of lying but was unable to offer a coherent reason as to why he would do so, other than “fear of the media.”

Still, an unconvincing testimony by the defendant does not necessarily mean the judges would hold it against him should the defense be able to poke holes at the prosecution’s version of events. Much of the debate will circle around whether or not there was a reasonable expectation that the terrorist on the ground, who was severely injured but not fatally so, still posed a lethal danger. In that context, the fact that the terrorist was wearing a heavy coat on a sunny day — a telltale sign of a potential suicide bombing — combined with mismanagement of the potential danger, could advance the defendant’s cause.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/defense-presents-new-witnesses-as-hebron-shooting-medic-trial-resumes/2016/08/28/

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