Occupied Jerusalem (QNN)- Israeli prosecutors on Thursday charged a border police officer with “reckless manslaughter” in the execution of an autistic Palestinian young man in Jerusalem’s Old City last year.
The indictment came over a year after the deliberate shooting of Eyad Hallaq. Hallaq’s family had previously criticized Israeli authorities’ investigation into his killing and called for much tougher charges.
The shooting has drawn comparisons to the police killing of George Floyd in the United States.
The occupation state rarely holds members of its security forces accountable for the deadly shootings of native Palestinians. Investigations often end with no charges or lenient sentences, and in many cases witnesses are not even summoned for questioning, according to rights groups.
“We want justice for our son,” Hallaq’s father, Khairi, said in response to the indictment. “Why is it that when an Arab kills they say he is a murderer and when an Israeli kills they say reckless manslaughter?”
The 32-year-old autestic young man, was fatally shot just inside the Old City’s Bab Al Amoud on May 30, 2020, as he was on his way to the special-needs institution that he attended. The officer’s commander, who was also present during the incident, was not charged.
According to accounts at the time, Hallaq was shot after running away and failing to heed calls to stop. Two members of Israel’s paramilitary border police then chased Hallaq into a garbage room and shot him as he cowered next to a bin.
The justice ministry said in a statement in October, when prosecutors recommended charges against the officer, the wounded Hallaq pointed to a woman he knew and muttered something. The officer then turned to the woman and asked her in Arabic, “Where is the gun?”
She replied, “What gun?” At that point, the officer under investigation fired again at Hallaq.
The woman mentioned in the statement appears to be Hallaq’s teacher, who was with him that morning. At the time of the shooting, she told an Israeli TV station she repeatedly called out to police that he was “disabled”.
In the charges filed Thursday, prosecutors described how the accused shot Hallaq in the stomach when he had his back against a wall in a corner, then shot him a second time in the chest while Hallaq was sprawled on the ground wounded.