Elor Azaria: Israeli soldier who killed wounded Palestinian attacker has jail sentence postponed

Three of the medic's defence attorneys quit, saying they oppose his appeal

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The Independent Online

An Israel Defence Force (IDF) soldier sentenced to 18 months in prison for killing a wounded Palestinian assailant has had his jail sentence postponed.

Elor Azaria appealed against his mansaughter conviction and his lawyer asked that the start of his incarceration be deferred until the end of legal proceedings.

Azaria was serving as an army medic in Hebron, in the occupied West Bank, when two Palestinians stabbed and wounded another soldier.

One assailant was shot dead and the other was wounded. Eleven minutes later, he took aim with his rifle and fatally shot Abd Elfatah Ashareef, 21, who was lying on the ground unable to move. 

A three-judge military court convicted Azaria of manslaughter last month.

It rejected his contention that he believed the man still posed a threat, admitting into evidence a video of the incident recorded by a Palestinian rights activist.

Imposing punishment lighter than a three-to-five year sentence requested by the prosecution, the court noted the Hebron incident had been Azaria's first combat experience and that his record had been unblemished.

Three of Elor Azaria's defence attorneys announced they were quitting after the appeal was announced.

In a statement, they said he had received a "fantastic and seemingly impossible" sentence, appearing to suggest he should not put it at risk.

In the petition to a military appeals court, Azaria's remaining lawyer asked that the start of his incarceration be deferred until the end of legal proceedings.

The Palestinian government said the term imposed by the court had given Israeli soldiers a "green light" to carry out "executions without fear of real punishment".

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