Court frees Azariya from house arrest on Shabbat

Soldier convicted of manslaughter to be sent to house arrest, but to be permitted to leave house on Shabbat for prayers.

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David Rosenberg,

Elor Azariya with attorney Yoram Sheftel
Elor Azariya with attorney Yoram Sheftel

And IDF court ordered Elor Azariya released to house arrest on Monday, following an appeal by the soldier’s legal defense team.

Azariya, an IDF sergeant, was convicted in January of manslaughter after he shot and killed a wounded Arab terrorist in Hevron last March.

In February, an army court in Tel Aviv handed down an 18-month sentence; far less than the 3-5 years requested by army prosecutors.

Azariya has yet to enter prison, however, pending the outcome of an appeal against his conviction. For the past 16 months, he has been detained at the Nachshonim army base near Rosh Haayin.

Last week Azariya’s defense team filed a request for his release from the base, given that Azariya would be completing his three years of service in the army by this Thursday.

With Azariya’s army service ending and a prior court ruling barring his imprisonment, the court had little choice but to accept the request.

Regarding the specific parameters of the house arrest, however, the court largely ignored Azariya’s requests for leniency, imposing a near-total curfew, requiring him to remain at home six days a week.

The court did include one exception to full house arrest, allowing Azariya to leave his home to attend prayers at synagogue on Shabbat.

Azariya’s attorney, Yoram Sheftel, said he was not surprised by the court’s decision.

“There was little chance the court was going to veer from the previous conditions it had set for his being held, although we did try to change its mind. Elor is free, even if his freedom of movement is limited.”