Military Police must shed a light on all responsibilities in Nil’in event

Press release

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) calls upon the Israeli military authorities to make sure that the soldier who fired a ’rubber’ bullet at a Palestinian man detained at a checkpoint be held accountable and to investigate the involvement of high-ranking officers in the event and suspected cover-up.

Bt’selem, FIDH member organisation in Israel, has published a video clip documenting a soldier firing a rubber coated steel bullet, from extremely close range, at a cuffed and blindfolded Palestinian man. The shooting took place in the presence of a lieutenant colonel, who was holding the man’s arm when the shot was fired.

On the 7th of July, a Palestinian demonstrator, Ashraf Abu Rahma, was stopped by soldiers during a demonstration in Nil’in, a village in the West Bank. Abu Rahma stated that he was cuffed and blindfolded for about thirty minutes and beaten up by Israeli soldiers. Afterwards, he was led to an army jeep. The video clip shows a soldier firing, from extremely close range, a rubber coated steel bullet at him. According to Abu-Rahma, his left toe was hit. He received treatment from an army medic before being released by the soldiers.

FIDH also strongly denounces the violent repression by the Israeli border police of demonstrations against the construction of the Annexation Wall near Ni’lin and which have been held almost every day for the past few weeks. On the 29th July, a ten years old boy was shot dead.

On the 23rd of July 2008, Jamal Kana’an Amirra was arrested while observing one of these demonstrations near Ni’lin. FIDH fears that Amirra’s arrest is connected to the fact that his daughter is the author of the above-mentioned video clip rather than from his participation in the demonstration. Mr. Amirra is still under detention at Ofra military detention centre near Ramallah and is accused of « attempting to assault an Israeli soldier ». His trial initially planned on the 29th July, is postponed to the 5th of August.

FIDH welcomes the opening of an investigation on Nil’in event by the the Military Police. However, FIDH reiterates B’Tselem’s demand that all persons involved in this unlawful act be brought to justice, and that the investigation not merely focuses on the individual soldier. FIDH also calls upon the Israeli authorities to take all necessary measures to ensure that law enforcement officers act in compliance with international standards. Furthermore, FIDH expresses its deep concern regarding what appears to be an attempt by the Israeli authorities to penalize Palestinian people to exercise their legitimate right to strive for the protection and guarantee of human rights.

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