Le soldat Elor Azaria .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hebron shooter Elor Azaria is expected to receive an order for temporary release to full house arrest from an IDF court on Monday.
The development does not mean that Azaria will be free from his 18-month prison sentence, which is still pending a decision by the IDF Military Court of Appeals. Rather, the IDF Prosecution already has agreed that he can move from an open army base arrest to house arrest from July 20, when his three-year army service ends, to whenever the appeal is decided. It was unclear whether the release would come July 20 or as early as Monday.
Azaria’s defense lawyer, Yoram Sheftel, wants him released to half-house arrest during which he would be able to leave the house during most daylight hours. In full house arrest, detainees cannot leave the house at any time.
The IDF Appeals Court is expected to make a final decision on Azaria’s appeal in the coming weeks after a June 1 meeting between IDF chief prosecutor Col. Sharon Zigagi and Sheftela to reach some kind of deal bore no fruit.
In May, Sheftel and lead IDF prosecutor for the case Lt.-Col. Nadav Weissman went after each other hard in the last appeal hearing over the manslaughter verdict against Azaria.
It was the “trial of your life! The trial of your life!” Sheftel yelled at Weissman during that hearing, taunting him about statements he had made about the trial in an interview.
A panel of five judges of the IDF Appeals Court, with chief judge Maj.-Gen. Doron Filis presiding, pounded the Hebron shooter’s defense team with questions about holes in their arguments to overturn the verdict. They also heard the prosecution’s appeal that the 18-month prison sentence was too light.
The tense hearing in which Sheftel yelled and waved his finger at Weissman, while he also fought regularly with multiple judges, was the culmination of the saga that dates back to Azaria’s killing of Abdel Fatah al-Sharif in March 2016.