The sentencing phase of the trial of soldier Elor Azariya continues today with the testimony of Kfir Brigade commander Guy Hazut and National Union Head Ofir Sofer.
Sofer previously mediated a meeting between Hazut and Azariya’s father, Charlie, during which Hazut attempted to convince Charlie not to appeal the court’s verdict and to replace Azariya’s defense team.
Hazut will testify at the request of Azariya’s defense team, who had claimed that Hazut’s words to Charlie manifested an obstruction of justice. The court had rejected the claim of the defense on grounds that the conversation between the two had taken place after the verdict had already been handed down.
Nevertheless, the Commander is to be called to the stand in order to ascertain whether words that were spoken during the meeting have any bearing on the sentence to be given to Azariya.
Speaking in the military court, Sofer said, “I acted of my own accord because I care. I tried to help, out of an understanding that the verdict was harsh.”
Sofer testified that he had not spoken with other senior military officials to clarify how to prevent Azariya from appealing.
Azariya’s team asked Sofer if he was ready to hand over his cell phone to allow verification that he was speaking the truth. Sofer responded, “I need to consult an attorney, but I am speaking the truth. The phone serves me at work, and I am not sure that I want to expose it.”
Sofer criticized the press as well as the defense team representing Azariya’s family. “[In the Azariya's,] I met a family with a completely different public presence [than is projected by the media]. A family that loves the Army and the IDF, and which, despite all the pain it is going through now, still is loyal to the State and the Army.”