Azariya's lawyers: Court's hostility towards Azariya was evident

Elor Azariya's lawyers responded to the guilty verdict stating that they would appeal the court's 'harsh' decision.

Yoni Kempinski ,

Attorney Ilan Katz meets with father of Elor Azariya
Attorney Ilan Katz meets with father of Elor Azariya
Yoni Kempinski

The lawyers of convicted soldier Elor Azariya announced Wednesday that they would submit an appeal against the military court's decision to convict Azariya of manslaughter and unbecoming conduct for killing a terrorist in Hevron.

"This is a harsh verdict which rejected all the arguments made by the defense," said attorney Ilan Katz, representing Azariya, in response to the conviction. "We will need to study the verdict. We respect the military court and will state our criticisms in the relevant place."

We will in all likelihood appeal the verdict. We have requested that the pleas before sentencing be held in the near future so that we will not lose time and be able to immediately submit our appeal," he added.

Attorney Eyal Besserglick who is also representing Azariya added that "This is a harsh verdict. We saw the hostility of the court towards Azariya during the course of the trial and it has been demonstrated today. This is a sad day for all involved."

The military court judges ruled unanimously that there was no justification for the shooting and that Azariya's version of events was unreliable.

The shooting was filmed by a 'B'Tzelem' volunteer and the judges ruled that the films were credible as evidence and rejected Azariya's explanation of events.

The army responded to the court's verdict by stating that "the IDF respects the court's decision and will study it and its ramifications for the army. During the entire legal procedure the IDF made a distinction between the commanding echelon and the judicial echelon. The judiciary branch of the IDF will continue to search for the truth independently and employing professional criteria in any case where there is a suspicion of crime in the conduct of the IDF and those who serve it.

"Sergeant Elor Azariya's commanding officers will provide support as required to the soldier and his family in the future. The IDF will continue to employ the necessary force required while maintaining its ethical code and will give support to its soldiers fighting for the security of the citizens of Israel," concluded the IDF statement.