Yoram Sheftel (center)
Yoram Sheftel (center) Yoni Kempinski

Defense attorney Yoram Sheftel, who joined the legal defense team for Sgt. Elor Azariya following the soldier’s conviction in January, slammed army prosecutors Tuesday afternoon after a military court handed down an 18-month sentence.

The prosecution, argued Sheftel, went far beyond their duty to prosecute the case, aggressively pursuing the 21-year soldier in a “bloodthirsty” manner.

Sheftel noted that while the court convicted Azariya of manslaughter, judges balked at the three to five year prison sentence sought by prosecutors.

“During the whole length of the trial, all of the appearances, words, and general behavior of the chief army prosecutor [Nadav Weissman] suggested he was thirsty for Elor’s blood.

“And in effect the court, too, established that today when it handed down a sentence that was half of the minimal sentence sought by the prosecutor.”

Sheftel reiterated the defense’s intention to appeal the ruling, laying out some of the arguments planned in the appeal.

“The sentence, as has been stated, was based on the facts established in the verdict, and the verdict rested on two main claims,” said Sheftel. One of the claims “that immediately after the shooting Elor yelled ‘the terrorist stabbed my friend’,” continued Sheftel, “never happened. And It’s not just me saying that, it can be seen in 13 different video recordings presented to the court, all of which show that Elor said nothing after the shooting. He didn’t say a word.”

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