Israeli police shot and killed an unarmed Palestinian man with autism on Saturday, May 30, 2020. According to multiple news reports, Iyad Hallaq, aged 32, was shot multiple times by Israeli border police at a checkpoint in the old city in occupied East Jerusalem. Hallaq was a resident of the Wadi al-Joz neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, and was diagnosed with autism. His family said that he was unarmed, added that he “was not capable of harming anyone.” He reportedly worked at and attended a special needs school very close to the checkpoint.
Hallaq was reportedly shot with live bullets more than 10 times by the Israeli police. He was left bleeding on the ground for a while before he died. The Israeli police in a statement later claimed that they suspected Hallaq of being armed and carrying a gun, because of which they told him to stop for checking. When he allegedly refused and started running, the police officers chased him and shot him dead. Two of the officers are reportedly being investigated.
The Israeli news outlet Haaretz said that one of the officers continued to shoot at Hallaq even after he was told by his commanding officer to stop. The police and the intelligence also raided Hallaq’s home, claiming to conduct an investigation. They harassed his family members and abused his relatives.
Hallaq’s body was moved to the Institute of Forensic Medicine at Abu Kabir for an autopsy. Officials did not allow a Palestinian pathologist to be present during the autopsy.
The murder of Hallaq was condemned across Palestine. A demonstration was scheduled to take place on Saturday evening in occupied Jerusalem. Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), condemning the incident in a tweet, said, “Israeli Occupation Forces in East #Jerusalem assassinated Iyad Khayri, 32 a disabled Palestinian. A crime that will be met with impunity unless the world stops treating Israel as a state above the law &@IntlCrimCourt fulfils its mandate.” Ayman Odeh, chairman of the Arab joint list in the Israeli Knesset (parliament), expressed his condolences to the Hallaq family, adding that, “We must fight the expected police cover up and make sure that the officers responsible go to prison.”