Israeli prosecutors on Thursday indicted a fatal shooting for killing a border police officer an autistic Palestinian man last year in the Old City of Jerusalem.
The indictment was filed a year after the assassination of Eyad Hallak. Earlier, the Hulak family criticized the Israeli authorities’ investigation into his murder and demanded tougher charges.
An unnamed officer has been charged with manslaughter in an indictment filed in the Jerusalem District Court on Thursday and faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted.
Hallak, 32 was fatally shot right inside the Lion Gate of the Old Town, on May 30, 2020, when he was going to a special needs facility he was attending. The commander of the officers, who was also present at the incident, was not charged.
The area is a frequent site of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces, and the narrow streets of the Old City are lined with hundreds of security cameras monitored by police. But during the investigation last summer, prosecutors claimed that none of the cameras in the area worked and that there were no footage of the incident.
Prosecutors in the Internal Affairs Investigation Department said in a statement that the decision to charge the officer “was made after an in-depth examination of the evidence, an examination of all the circumstances of the case, and the demands heard during the officers’ hearings.”
They said Hulk’s death was a “serious, painful incident” and that an officer had shot him “before he took an unreasonable risk that he would lead to his death”.
According to accounts at the time, Hulak was after escaping after being shot : not listening to calls to stop. Two members of the Israeli border police then chased Halalak into a dump and shot him while he was cowardly next to a dumpster.
The Justice Ministry issued a statement in October when prosecutors charged the officer with injuring Hullak, pointing to his acquaintance, and muttering something. After that, the officer turned to the woman and asked her in Arabic. “Where is the gun?”
He answered. “What weapon?” At that moment, the officer under investigation fired again at Hallak.
The woman in the ad appears to be Hulk’s teacher who was with her that morning. During the filming, he told Israeli television that he had called police several times that he was “disabled.”
Prosecutors on Thursday described how the defendant shot Hullak in the stomach when he leaned his back against a corner wall, then shot him in the chest a second time while Hulk was lying on the ground with a wound.
Hallaq’s family was not immediately available for comment, but had previously stated that the murder would be whitewashed, especially after an alleged camera malfunction.
In cases of attacks on Israeli security forces, the police often quickly release security camera footage to the public. Palestinians and human rights groups claim that Israel has a poor track record in investigating police violence against Palestinians.
The head of the joint list of the Arab parties in the Israeli parliament, Ayman Odei, reacted on Twitter, calling the indictment for the reckless murder an “outrageous and humiliating accusation.”
Hallaq’s shots were a comparison The Assassination of George Lloyd Floyd in the United States : prompted a series of small demonstrations against police violence. The uproar crossed the Israeli-Palestinian border and involved Jewish protesters. Israeli leaders have expressed regret over the killing.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said on Thursday that a Palestinian teenager who had been shot dead by Israeli forces on the banks of the occupied Jordan River the day before had died of his injuries.
Ahmad Shamsa, 15, died of a gunshot wound to the head on Wednesday. He was the fourth Palestinian to be killed in protests near the town of Evitar in recent months as protesters hurled stones at Israeli troops, who responded by firing tear gas.
The Israeli military fired on Wednesday killed a Palestinian woman who was said to have tried to drive his car into a group of soldiers patrolling a construction site on the West Bank. The family of 29-year-old Mai Afana claimed that she had no reason to carry out the attack.