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Israel. A court acquitted a police officer accused of killing an autistic Palestinian man

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A police officer who fatally shot an autistic Palestinian in 2020 has been acquitted by a Jerusalem court. The judges judged the incident to be a tragic mistake.

A court in Jerusalem on Thursday acquitted a policeman who fatally shot a Palestinian suffering from autism in 2020.

According to the indictment of the ill-fated May 2020, Eyad Halak, 32, was on his way to a special school when an unnamed officer shot him dead in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Self-defense “due to error in judgment”

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The policeman assumed that the phone the man was holding was a weapon, and after Halak disobeyed the order to stop, he fired shots at him.

The judges accepted the officer’s claim of self-defence “due to an error of judgment”. The court also ruled that the officer had erred in assessing that he was dealing with an armed terrorist.

The AP recalls that a police investigation found that the police officer disobeyed a cease-fire order and acted in a “reckless” manner.


After the verdict was announced, the victim’s father called him a “disgrace” and said there was “one justice for Jews and another for Arabs.”

Jerusalem’s Old City is a frequent site of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces. The narrow streets of the old town are packed with hundreds of security cameras. However, as the AP notes, in the course of the investigation last summer, prosecutors claimed that none of the cameras in the area were working and there was no video of the incident.

When police shot and killed 26-year-old Mohammed Alasibi at the entrance to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City in early April, security officials also maintained that there were no recordings of the incident.

Comments after the judgment of the court in Jerusalem

This is just one of many cases where Israel whitewashes the killings of Palestinians,” said Dror Sadot, a spokeswoman for the Israeli group human rights B’tselem after today’s verdict. “Regarding the gratuitous killing of Palestinians by Israeli forces, there is a policy of impunity,” she added.

Itamar Ben-Gwir, the far-right security minister, praised the verdict, stating that “the heroic soldiers who protect the state of Israel with their lives will receive hugs and full support from me and the Israeli government.”

Main photo source: ABIR SULTAN/PAP/EPA

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