The trial of Sgt. Elor Azaria reached its conclusion Wednesday afternoon at a special military court in Jaffa during which the prosecution and defense teams delivered their final appeals.
Azaria is facing manslaughter charges after he shot to death an Arab terrorist in Hevron in March.
During the final session military prosecutor Lt. Col. Nadav Weisman sought to undermine the credibility of the defendant, reiterating previous points in which he accused Azaria of repeatedly lying during his testimony.
Weisman also argued that Azaria changed his version of what transpired on the day of the shooting and charged that he fabricated a story according to which his commander Maj. Tom Na’aman slapped him in front of people present at the scene. Weisman highlighted that the claim could easily be refuted due to the fact that nobody appears to have witnessed any such incident.
Arguing that Azaria should be given no quarter for his actions, Weisman outlined the various levels of manslaughter in an effort to convince the judge that Azaria’s case fell in the most serious category.
Azaria’s lawyer Ilan Katz cited what he described as the contamination of the judicial process. “The prosecutor is essentially saying, ‘watch the video and hang Azaria in the city square.’ It was not Azaria’s actions that rocked the state but the things said by former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon in which he said that Azaria transgressed after the incident.”
His second defense attorney, Eyal Beserglick emphasized that from a point of view of mental objectivity, Azaria’s fear of a bona fide threat led him to shoot the terrorist in self defense. “In reality, the prosecutor is claiming that Elor is guilty of murder,” Beserglick said. “Azaria’s testimony was consistent and the things he remembered during the trial were due to his mental state. We have proposed that he be interrogated again by the Military Criminal Investigation Division.”
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