The “Chevron shooter,” IDF soldier Elor Azaria, pleaded innocent on Monday to the charge of manslaughter in the shooting of a Palestinian disarmed terrorist, Abdel Fatal al-Sharif, on March 24, immediately following an attack on security forces.
Azaria’s denial of the charge before the Jaffa Military Court included a claim of self-defense and criticized the IDF Prosecution for what his lawyers called arbitrary enforcement, The Jerusalem Post reported.
The soldier’s lawyers argued Azaria acted in self-defense, believing that al-Sharif was about to attack with a knife and an explosive belt. The defense further alleged that the IDF has singled him out for unusually harsh treatment for political reasons, noting that in comparable cases soldiers have been faced with only a letter of censure and no criminal allegations.
In another development in the trial on Monday, Judge Lt. Col. Yogev Yifrach was replaced by Judge Lt. Col. Yaron Sitvon on the three military-judge panel, after the defense objected that he was too close to key prosecution witness IDF Col. Yariv Ben Ezra, Azaria’s senior commanding officer.