Israeli court acquits police officer who killed Iyad Al-Hallaq

Iyad Al-Hallaq
Iyad Al-Hallaq.(Photo: Twitter)
AMMAN – An Israeli court has acquitted a border police officer who was charged with manslaughter of an unarmed Palestinian man with autism in Jerusalem. Iyad Al-Hallaq was shot and killed by an Israeli police officer in Jerusalem’s Old City in May 2020 while walking to the special-needs school where he was a student. اضافة اعلان

His death, which came at a time when outrage was filled in the US over the killing of George Floyd, immediately drew comparisons with many Palestinian organizations around the world, including his family calling to hold the officer accountable. “Justice for Iyad” became a movement popular on social media and in protests where people took to the streets to voice their disdain.

A delayed investigation
The Hallaq family protested against the ruling issued by Israeli Judge Hannah Lomb, after long procrastination by the Israeli judicial authorities who have been looking into the crime for nearly three years, Amad reported.

The verdict, which acquitted the police officer on the charge of “reckless killing,” granted the Israeli judiciary greater legal maneuverability in murder cases.

Judge Lomb accepted the claims of the police officer, who argued self-defense, and the court concluded that the officer has made a grave mistake by mistaking the person in front of him as an armed infiltrator.

In her decision, Judge Lomb stated, "Iyad, a young man with special needs, tragically lost his life in horrific circumstances. However, the court must fulfill its duty, even if it is exceptionally challenging." Meanwhile, Hallaq's parents demanded justice and highlighted the bias of the Israeli judiciary in favor of Jews and the occupying security forces.

A reckless killing
The Israeli Attorney General's Office had filed an indictment against the police officer who killed Hallaq on February 27, 2022, at the Central Court in Jerusalem. The indictment accused the officer of "recklessly" shooting Hallaq while he was on his way to his special needs school in occupied Jerusalem.

According to the indictment, despite him lying injured on the ground after the initial gunshot and not holding anything in his hand, the accused fired shots at his upper body, needlessly endangering his life.

The police officer entered the courtroom under tight police guard, with his face covered, and sat behind a curtain. The court imposed a publication ban on the officer's identity, claiming that he was being tried for a military operation.

Iyad’s father, Khairi Hallaq, expressed that his unarmed son surrendered, went down to the ground, and acted defenselessly. Meanwhile, his mother Rana surrounded by his belongings and a picture of him, said “They took the life of a young man who never got to experience life.”

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