Naftali Bennett
Naftali BennettHezki Baruch

Education Minister and Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett called for the immediate pardoning of Sgt. Elor Azariya, who was found guilty of manslaughter Wednesday afternoon in a military court in Tel Aviv.

“Immediate clemency for Elor Azariya,” Bennett wrote on his Facebook page. “Today a soldier who killed a murderous terrorist who tried to slaughter [another] soldier, was convicted and put in handcuffs like the worst criminal.”

The military court which rendered the verdict convened at 10:00 a.m. in the Kirya army complex in Tel Aviv. After a nearly three-hour elaboration on the court’s decision, the verdict was finally handed down just before 1:00 p.m.

“We need to say the truth. The trial was corrupted from the outset,” continued Bennett. “The harsh comments by political leaders even before the opening of the army’s investigation, the removal of the soldier himself from the investigation process, the critical media coverage surrounding the case (including Army Radio) caused Elor irreparable harm.”

“I expect Defense Minister Yvette [Avigdor] Liberman to keep his many promises and secure an immediate pardon for Elor Azariya, so that he does not have to spend a single day in prison.”

Prior to his conviction, Azariya was under “open arrest” on an army base.