Netanyahu urges pardon for convicted Israeli soldier

Israeli soldier Elor Azaria (C) had been on trial for manslaughter in a military court, with right-wing politicians defending him despite top army brass harshly condemning the killing (AFP Photo/Heidi Levine)
 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday he supported pardoning a young Israeli soldier convicted of manslaughter for shooting dead a Palestinian assailant lying wounded and motionless on the ground in the occupied West Bank.
The decision to court-martial Sergeant Elor Azaria, who shot the Palestinian after the assailant stabbed another Israeli soldier last March has stirred public controversy in Israel from the start, with right-wing politicians calling after the verdict on President Reuven Rivlin to pardon the 20-year-old defendant.
"This is a difficult and painful day – first and foremost for Elor, his family, Israel\’s soldiers, many citizens and parents of soldiers, among them me … I support granting a pardon to Elor Azaria," Netanyahu said on his Facebook page. 
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