JERUSALEM (JTA) – The prison sentence of an Israeli soldier convicted of shooting an injured Palestinian terrorist lying on the ground was reduced by four months.
The Israeli army’s chief of staff, Gadi Eisenkot, on Wednesday shortened the sentence of Sgt. Elor Azaria to 14 months from 18 months. Eisenkot had earlier declined to pardon Azaria.
Azaria entered prison in early August and could be released as early as March 30 if he gets one third off his sentence for good behavior. An appeals court had upheld the conviction, which stirred controversy in Israel.
A medic in the elite Kfir Brigade, Azaria came on the scene following a Palestinian stabbing attack on soldiers in the West Bank city of Hebron on March 24, 2016. One assailant was killed and another, Abdel Fattah al-Sharif, was injured. Minutes later, while Sharif was lying on the ground, Azaria shot him in the head. The shooting was captured on video by a local affiliate of the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.
Azaria was arrested that day and indicted nearly a month later. Autopsy reports showed that the shots fired by Azaria killed Sharif. Prior to shooting Sharif, Azaria had cared for a stabbed soldier.