Israeli President rejects pardon of convicted soldier Elor Azaria

Israeli President rejects pardon of convicted soldier Elor Azaria”

President Reuven Rivlin decided on Sunday to reject the request of IDF sergeant Elor Azaria for pardon from a manslaughter conviction for killing a neutralized Palestinian terrorist a year ago.

Israel's President Reuven Rivlin mentioned in his response to Azaria's clemency request the IDF chief's decision to reduce his sentence, adding that another reduction would harm the strength of the IDF and Israel.

"The purity of arms is a substantial element of the IDF's strength", the statement said.

On July 30, a military court turned down Azaria's appeal against his conviction for manslaughter and upheld an 18-month prison sentence, which he began serving on August 9.

In September, Israel's Chief of Staff General Gadi Eisenkot reduced the term by four months. Many Israelis, particularly on the nationalist right, defended his actions.

Azaria was caught on video shooting a wounded Palestinian attacker. Israel's military pushed for his prosecution, saying he violated its code of ethics.

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