Israeli soldier sentenced to 18 months for killing wounded Palestinian

Tel Aviv: An Israeli military court on Tuesday sentenced a soldier to 18 months in prison for shooting dead an injured Palestinian assailant.
Judge Maya Heller handed down the sentence a month after Elor Azaria, 21, was found guilty of manslaughter for killing Abdul Fatah al Sharif as he lay on the ground in the southern occupied West Bank in March last year.
Prosecutors had demanded a three-to-five year sentence but the panel of three judges decided that would be too severe.
Heller said they had taken into account mitigating factors including the “harm suffered by his family” and the fact Azaria was in “hostile territory” when the shooting occurred.
She added, however, that he had not expressed remorse for his actions. The offence carried a maximum sentence of 20 years.
He has already spent 10 months in detention at an Israeli military base and it was not immediately clear if Tuesday’s sentence includes time served.
Azaria’s family didn’t react in court as the sentence was passed down but Sharif’s father in the southern West Bank had called the trial a “farce.”
The March 2016 shooting in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron was caught on video by a rights group and spread widely online.
It showed Sharif, 21, lying on the ground, shot along with another Palestinian after stabbing and wounding a soldier, according to the army.
Azaria then shoots him again in the head without any apparent provocation.
Azaria says he feared Sharif was wearing an explosive belt and could blow himself up, taking nearby soldiers and onlookers with him. The claim was rejected by the judges.
Around 100 demonstrators protested outside the court against the sentence, an AFP photographer on the scene said.
The dead Palestinian’s father, Yusri al Sharif, says Azaria deserved a life sentence. — AFP