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Israeli rights group writes to attorney general over Umm al-Hiran killing

Israeli police assault bedouins in Umm al-Hiran [File photo]

Adalah – The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel has sent an urgent letter to the Israeli attorney general demanding “the opening of an independent, neutral examination into the critically-flawed investigation” of the Israeli police’s killing of a Palestinian citizen in Umm al-Hiran in 2017.

The move comes just days after Haaretz newspaper revealed what Adalah described as “a series of flaws, conflicts of interest, and obstruction of justice” in the original investigation.

In January 2017, Israeli police shot and killed 50-year-old Bedouin math teacher Ya’akub Abu al-Qi’an during a large-scale house demolition operation in Umm al-Hiran, a village that is slated to be destroyed so that a new Jewish community can be built in its place.

READ: Palestinian smeared as ‘terrorist’ was driving at 6mph when Israel cops opened fire 

As Adalah relates, “eyewitness testimony from the scene and visual evidence – including a video released by Israeli police – all clearly indicate that officers opened fire on Abu al-Qi’an as he drove through his village, despite the fact that he posed no danger to anyone”.

In addition, “testimony also indicates that Abu al-Qi’an lay wounded in his vehicle at the scene for three hours while police officers prevented paramedics from providing urgent care or evacuating him. As a direct result of this withholding of urgent medical care, Abu al-Qi’an died in his vehicle”.

Last month, Israeli State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan announced that the investigation revealed “no reasonable suspicion that police officers involved in the incident committed any criminal acts”.

In the letter this week, Adalah has demanded the authorities “immediately hand over all investigatory materials, including the report filed by the Shin Bet officer and Abu al-Qi’an’s autopsy report”, and “order the establishment of a comprehensive, independent, neutral examination into the investigation of the police killing of Abu al-Qi’an”.

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