Palestinians hold the funeral for a man shot dead by Israeli forces after an attack on a soldier on March 24 in the West Bank city of Hebron.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The lawyers representing the IDF soldier who is charged in the shooting of an immobilized Palestinian terrorist in Hebron in March called on Sunday for the return to Israel of Abdel Fattah al-Sharif's body, which was released to his family on Friday.
Sgt. Elor Azaria's defense team claimed that the return of al-Sharif's body to his family in Hebron impaired the legal proceedings in the case.
The defense attorney charge that without the remains, they cannot appoint a pathologist to examine the body and submit an analysis of opinions on the events of the shooting.
The lawyers filed the petition with a military court the day after al-Sharif was buried in Hebron
"The order to return and transfer the terrorist's body [to the Palestinians] on Friday night was surprising and cause irrevocable damage to the defense, which informed the military prosecution several times of its intention to appoint a pathologist on it behalf to draw an option," the lawyers said.
The lawyers compared the move to that of concealing investigative materials in a case.
On Saturday, thousands of Palestinian attended the funeral of al-Sharif, who had stabbed an Israeli soldier in Hebron on March 24 before he was shot. Sharif was one of two terrorists who stabbed and wounded a soldier in the Hebron incident; soldiers then killed both attackers.
Funeral for Palestinian shot in Hebron
Mourners wrapped al-Sharif's body in a Hamas flag during a massive funeral procession Saturday, and buried him with full military honors.
Sgt. Elor Azaria was detained after a bystander’s video recorded him firing once into Sharif's head as he lay supine, shortly after being shot by other soldiers.
Azaria was indicted last month on charges of manslaughter and inappropriate military conduct.
Prosecutors, citing the testimony by the soldier’s comrades and his apparently calm disposition, say he carried out an illegal shooting motivated by revenge.
Defense lawyers say the soldier act in self defense, fearing the Palestinian had a hidden bomb.
On Wednesday, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan
ordered a halt to the return of bodies of Palestinians killed while carrying out attacks, following anoter funeral in east Jerusalem on Monday night that he said violated understandings reached between police and the families of the terrorists.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Erdan wrote, “I just saw the outrageous photos from the funeral overnight in east Jerusalem which violated the police stipulations given to the family of the terrorist, who held a funeral with a large number of attendees and calls for violence and support for terrorism.”
He continued, “The families of terrorists lied to the High Court when they vowed to adhere to the police stipulations, and it’s a shame that the High Court believed them, and exerted pressure on the police to return the bodies in time for Ramadan.”