Azariya at hearing
Azariya at hearing Tomer Appelbaum

On Tuesday morning, the Tel Aviv Military Court of Appeals began its hearing on the application submitted by soldier Elor Azariya to postpone his entry into prison until the Chief of Staff's decision on whether to soften his sentence.

The hearing is being headed by President of the Court Gen. Doron Piles, who also headed the panel of judges presiding over Azariya’s appeal.

Azariya’s lawyer, Yoram Sheftel, argued at the hearing that Azariya already considers the court’s decision on the appeal to be final, even though the last date to submit an application for an appeal to the Supreme Court has not yet passed. Therefore, he argued, the Chief of Staff can legally start considering the application that Azariya submitted.

“The [court] decision is final. There is no way that, after my client submitted a written application and told all the people of Israel in a video that he is not appealing, he would eventually file an appeal,” Sheftel said.

Judge Piles addressed Sheftel, wondering how his argument was consistent with the language of the law.

Sheftel added that Chief of Staff Eizenkot's statement to the effect that he would seriously consider lightening Azariya's punishment constitutes a kind of invitation to Azariya to exhaust the process of requesting leniency, noting that a delay of 21 days is required, until the last day on which the Chief of Staff can respond to the request.

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