Israeli politicians looking to advance themselves have politicized the case of a soldier being tried for manslaughter, said Ilan Katz, attorney for the indicted.
Elor Azariya has been charged with manslaughter after killing a wounded Arab terrorist following a terror attack in Hevron. The incident drew immediate condemnation from then-Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, but has sharply divided Israelis.
Azariya has claimed that he acted in self-defense, as it appeared the terrorist may have been attempting to activate an explosive device concealed inside his jacket. Azariya’s commander, however, has testified against him, claiming he violated protocol and acted without justification.
Speaking with Arutz Sheva on Monday, Katz blasted the behavior of politicians across the political spectrum, who, he argued, had tried to take a free “ride on this case”, at his client’s expense.
“He didn't do it in order to take revenge because his friend was injured by the terrorist. But we think that in this case at the time of the action... when he shot the terrorist, this was the only logical thing a soldier could do when he seems to be in front of a big danger, when a suicide bomber can harm him and the people around him.”
“It's the kind [of case] that somebody in the government or somebody in the opposition decided to make a political case. But once this case went on all of the politicians from the left-wing and right-wing took a kind of ride on this case, and every one of the politicians tried to take advantage of this case.”
But Katz pledged to bring ranking IDF officers to testify on behalf of his client, challenging testimony by Azaryia’s commander that he acted improperly given the situation.
“As you can see, it is a very long trial. Many high-ranking officers already gave their testimony in the court. We will bring higher-ranking officers, [including] generals as well as many brigadier generals and other high-ranking officers to show that this case is a political case, that this case has only one purpose: to take the [bright] lights [of criticism] from the high-ranking officers and to put it only on the head of the soldier.”
“I think until now his testimony has been very good. He told the things exactly as he told in the very long investigation. Some details are new details which he didn't tell us before, but there is a very good explanation about those details, and we hope that after the soldier will finish testifying today and tomorrow, the whole picture will be brighter.”