TEL AVIV – The defense team representing an IDF soldier charged with manslaughter for shooting a neutralized Palestinian terrorist has called for the body of the terrorist, who was buried over the weekend, to be exhumed.
Sgt. Elor Azaria’s attorneys claimed they had already put in a request to the Jaffa Military Court for an additional autopsy before the body of Abdel Fattah al-Sharif was released to his family.
According to attorney Eyal Besserglick, the return of al-Sharif’s body impedes Azaria’s case.
“In the middle of the night, the body of the terrorist was handed over, when we had declared in court that we intend to bring our own pathologist,” Besserglick stated. “This has caused evidential damage, without a doubt, to the possibility of the defense examining the body.”
The defense team further contended that the move is equal to concealing evidence in a case.
Military prosecutors indicted Azaria last month on charges of manslaughter and inappropriate conduct for shooting and killing al-Sharif after the latter had already been shot and immobilized during a stabbing attack he carried out on IDF soldiers.
Azaria’s defense team maintains that the soldier acted in self-defense, out of fears that the Palestinian was hiding a bomb under his jacket.
The attorneys also suggested that al-Sharif may have died in any case, since pathology reports showed him to be seriously wounded from gunshots to his lungs and groin.
Thousands of Palestinians attended al-Sharif’s funeral on Saturday. His body was shrouded in a Hamas flag and he was buried him with full military honors as cries of “Allahu Akbar” rang from the crowd.
Watch an Al Quds TV broadcast of the funeral below:
Al-Sharif’s father, Yusri, demanded that the Israeli courts hand Azaria the sentence he deserves and “judge their own just as they judge the Palestinians.”
“Imagine if it was the other way around, that a Palestinian had killed someone. They would sentence him to life,” Yusri told AFP.
On Wednesday, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan ordered a halt to returning the bodies of Palestinian terrorists killed while carrying out attacks. The order came after it emerged that attendees at the funeral of another terrorist were calling for more attacks against Israelis, violating an agreement 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.”