Azaria’s 18 month sentence issued in January for shooting to death subdued Palestinian attacker, Abdel Fatah al-Sharif, in Hebron in March 2016, was upheld by a military appeals court last week. Azaria is to begin serving time on Wednesday but had sought to delay his incarceration pending a decision by Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot on a petition as Azaria has filed to commute his sentence.
“The immediacy of punishment is based on the discipline on which the military establishment rests. There is no justification for Azaria’s case to be different than those of other soldiers who request clemency; soldiers who only do so after they begin serving their sentences.”
On Sunday Azaria’s lawyer Yoram Sheftel asked to hold a hearing on the issue on Wednesday before Azaria begins serving time at Prison 4 in Tzrifin.
In his first public statement since last week’s appeal decision, Azaria said on Thursday that he believed that while he still believes that he could be found innocent by the Supreme Court appeal, he is going to prison “with my head held high” but that he and his family have “suffered terribly” since the incident and that he wants to return to routine as soon as possible.
Azaria, who has not expressed any regret for his actions, has asked Eisenkot to permit him to do community service instead of jail time, writing the chief of staff that he wished “to clarify that if I had known in advance what became apparent in hindsight—that there was no explosive device on the body of the terrorist—I would not have shot him.”