U.N. office: Israeli soldier got off easy
GENEVA — The United Nations human-rights office said Friday that it’s “deeply disturbed” by the “lenient” 18-month prison sentence handed down by a Tel Aviv military court against an Israeli soldier who killed a badly wounded Palestinian assailant as he lay on the ground after he had stabbed another soldier.
Spokesman Ravina Shamdasani of the rights office condemned Friday a “chronic culture of impunity” in Israel when it comes to soldiers involved in the conflict with Palestinians.
Sgt. Elor Azaria was sentenced Tuesday for manslaughter in the March shooting of Adbelfattah al-Sharif, who was wounded after he stabbed a soldier in the volatile West Bank city of Hebron.
Israeli officials strongly rejected her remarks. “It has been proven again that with the distorted ethical compass of the human rights council one bullet that Azaria fired at a terrorist is worse than millions of bullets that murder innocent people in Syria, Libya, Iraq and Yemen,” Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman wrote on Facebook.
The sentencing culminated a nearly yearlong saga that has bitterly divided Israel, where military service is compulsory and support for young soldiers is widespread. While Israel’s top generals pushed for the prosecution of a soldier who they say violated the military’s code of ethics, large segments of the public, including politicians on Israel’s nationalist right, sided with Azaria.
Revelers take part in the Carmelitas street party, Friday, in Rio de Janeiro. Merrymakers take to the streets in hundreds of open-air “bloco” parties during Rio’s over-the-top Carnival, the highlight of the year for many.