Sunday, July 30, 2017

Appellate court rejects Sgt. Azaria's appeal

The Military Court of Appeals in Tel Aviv today rejected the appeal filed by IDF Sgt. Elor Azaria. Ynet reports on the decision here. Excerpt:
Military Appeals Court President Maj. Gen. Doron Piles rejected the defense team's argument of discrimination against Azaria over claims similar incidents in the past did not go to trial, saying "the evidence the appellant requested to present bears no weight that could change the results of the trial and have no bearing on the issues under dispute. Seemingly, there is no concern of discrimination, perhaps except for in one case."
The court also rejected the claims the testimony of Cpl. T. was not credible, saying there was "no practical relevance to the appellant's claims that T.'s testimony was engineered by the IDF Criminal Investigation Division (CID)... T. confirmed his testimony to the CID in his testimony in court. We found no fault in the conclusion of the district court that found T.'s testimony to be credible. We do not accept Azaria's assertion that T. fabricated his testimony to match the positions of the IDF chief. There is no proof to the defense attorney's claim that words were put in T.'s mouth. He repeated his version over and over again of his own accord."
Furthermore, Piles said the court found that none of the witnesses "had a motive to falsely accuse Azaria."

The court also determined the defense failed to prove its claims IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot's condemnation of the shooting immediately after the incident affected or influenced the judicial process.
It is unclear whether the court also ruled on the prosecution's appeal of the 18-month sentence for manslaughter or whether that remains under review.

Postscript: The court also rejected the prosecution's excessive-leniency appeal of the sentence.

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