JAFFA (ISRAEL) (AFP) – The trial opened on Monday of an Israeli soldier charged with manslaughter for shooting a wounded Palestinian assailant in the head while he was lying on his back.
The head of the three-judge panel read out the indictment to Elor Azaria, who was clad in his uniform and surrounded by family in the cramped courtroom, an AFP journalist said.
The 19-year-old soldier also faces charges of conduct unbecoming before the military court in Jaffa, just south of Tel Aviv.
Azaria, who also holds French citizenship, had shot dead the 21-year-old Palestinian on March 24 in the city of Hebron, in the south of the occupied West Bank.
A widely circulated video showed Abdul Fatah al-Sharif lying on the ground along with another man after being shot and wounded minutes after stabbing and wounding a soldier, according to the army.
Azaria, who was not at the scene during Sharif’s attack, then appears in the footage and is seen shooting him in the head without any apparent provocation.
His lawyers argued that he thought the Palestinian had been wearing explosives.
The top brass of the Israeli military have condemned his actions, but rightwing politicians have argued that he has been unfairly treated.
Thousands of people attended a controversial rally in support of him last month.