Israeli government accused of shielding police officers who shot dead Iyad al-Hallaq

32-year-old Iyad al-Hallaq, a Palestinian man with autism, was shot dead at an Israeli police checkpoint on May 30. The police officer who shot him has been charged with only reckless homicide

October 22, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch

The police officer who shot dead Iyad al-Hallaq, a Palestinian man with autism, on May 30 was charged with reckless homicide by the Israeli authorities more than four months after the incident on Wednesday, October 21. Civil society and human rights groups, however, have criticized the decision to charge the officer with a lesser crime when it is beyond doubt that he killed Iyad with deliberation and in complete violation of his orders.

The case against another officer has been dropped following the investigation by the Israeli justice ministry which concluded that he ordered his subordinate not to shoot.

32-year-old Iyad al-Hallaq was killed by the police officer on May 30 at a police checkpoint in occupied East Jerusalem while he was on his way to school. The killing had led to massive outrage among Palestinians who took to streets demanding justice with the slogan of “Palestinian lives matters.”

Israel’s justice ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that Hallaq did not pose a “danger to police and civilians in the area” when he was killed and the police officer who shot him did so in violation of his orders, Middle East Eye reported.

Several Palestinian groups have condemned the Israeli government’s move to charge the accused officer with a lesser crime instead of murder. Hallaq’s family had earlier accused the Israeli government officials of destroying evidence in the case.   

Demanding justice for Iyad, member of the Israeli Knesset from the Arab Joint List Youself Jabareen criticized the justice ministry’s attempt to shield the guilty officers and said, “shooting a person in cold blood ….is not ‘reckless homicide.’ Its murder.”  

Israel has erected several check posts across the occupied territories and several Palestinians have been shot in cold blood while crossing them. In most of the cases, the police or security officers responsible for such killings are never charged. Some of them are charged for minor crimes and Israeli justice system has been lenient even towards those who have been found guilty.

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