Israeli soldier convicted for killing hurt Palestinian

An Israeli military court convicted an Israeli soldier of manslaughter Wednesday for fatally shooting an already-injured Palestinian man in the head last year.

Israeli soldier convicted for killing hurt Palestinian

Elor Azaria, 18, was convicted after Judge Col. Maya Heller said he had "needlessly" shot Abdul-Fattah Sharif, leading to the latter’s death.

The court rejected arguments by the soldier’s defense team that Sharif had already died of wounds sustained earlier when he was shot by Azaria.

Sharif had already been injured and disarmed after allegedly carrying out an attack -- during which a second Palestinian was also killed -- in the Israeli-occupied West Bank city of Hebron last March.

Azaria later claimed that he had feared Sharif had been carrying a bomb at the time.

The court, however, found that there had been no imminent threat to the soldier, meaning he violated the Israeli security forces’ so-called "rules of engagement" when he shot the already-injured Palestinian.

The court dismissed most of Azaria's argument, describing it as "evasive", including claims he had suffered psychologically.

The shooting incident was caught on camera by a Palestinian activist, leading to a split within the Israeli government after the military moved to prosecute Azaria despite vocal opposition from Israel’s far right -- including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Following Wednesday’s verdict, Arab-Israeli lawmaker Ayman Odeh declared that the "criminal occupation [of the Palestinian territories] has produced the likes of Azaria", going on to assert that hundreds of similar incidents had not been caught on film.

On Tuesday, Israeli army chief Gadi Eisenkot insisted that Azaria should not be treated by Israeli society as "everyone's child", stressing that he was a soldier obliged to adhering to acceptable military conduct.

In contrast, right-wing education minister and head of the Jewish Home party Naftali Bennett has called for Azaria to be immediately pardoned -- even if he was found guilty of manslaughter.

The court has not yet sentenced Azaria, who is expected to appeal the guilty verdict.

Kaynak : AA

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