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Israel slashes jail sentence of soldier who executed Palestinian Open in fullscreen

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Israel slashes jail sentence of soldier who executed Palestinian

Israeli soldier Elor Azaria was convicted of manslaughter for killing Abdul Fatah al-Sharif. [Getty]

Date of publication: 19 March, 2018

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Israeli soldier Elor Azaria was convicted of manslaughter in January 2017 for killing Abdul Fatah al-Sharif in Hebron in the occupied West Bank.
Israel's military has reduced the jail sentence of an Israeli soldier convicted of manslaughter for executing a Palestinian man at point blank range by a third of its length.

Israeli soldier Elor Azaria was convicted of manslaughter in January 2017 for killing Abdul Fatah al-Sharif in Hebron in the occupied West Bank.

The March 2016 shooting was caught on video by a human rights group and spread widely online. It showed Sharif, 21, lying wounded on the ground along with another Palestinian after stabbing and wounding a soldier.

Some 11 minutes after the initial shooting, Azaria, a sergeant and military medic at the time, shot him in the head without any apparent provocation.

Azaria was initially sentenced to 18 months in prison for the 2016 killing.

Israeli military chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot later reduced the term by four months. Azaria is now due to be released on 10 May, the military said.

It did not provide details on the military parole board's ruling on Azaria - who was 19 at the time of the shooting - in 2016. 

Prisoners in Israel often have their sentences cut by a third for good behaviour. Azaria began serving his sentence on 9 August.

Azaria's trial captivated Israel and highlighted deep divisions in public opinion between those who denounced the shooting and others who say it was justified.

Top military brass strongly denounced Azaria's actions, but right-wing politicians, including Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, called for him to be pardoned.

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