Court to state: Reopen probe into IDF shooting of US activist

NGO Yesh Din files petition to court on behalf of parents of Tristan Anderson who was hit by tear gas canister at W. Bank protest.

July 10, 2013 11:55
2 minute read.
Tristan Anderson after being hit by tear gas grenade.

Tristan Anderson 370. (photo credit: YouTube Screenshot)

The High Court of Justice on Wednesday ordered the state to reopen an investigation into the IDF shooting of an American activist during a 2009 protest against the security barrier.

A tear gas canister struck Tristan Anderson, an International Solidarity Movement activist from Oakland, California, in the head during the demonstration, which included violence, in Ni’lin, west of Ramallah.

He was hit despite not participating in any violent activities and observing the protests from afar behind a mosque in the village, according to Yesh Din – Volunteers for Human Rights.

Further, his injuries resulted in severe permanent brain damage and paralysis to half his body, although Israeli medical services were able to save him from dying, Yesh Din said.

The NGO filed a petition to the High Court in 2012 on behalf of Anderson’s parents, Nancy and Michael, demanding that a police investigation be reopened to examine aspects of the incident that the police allegedly ignored.

In ordering the case to be reopened, the High Court ordered the state to focus on an additional group of security personnel whom the police allegedly did not question.

Warning: This video contains graphic content.

Yesh Din provided a video showing a second group of security personnel nearby and also provided evidence they shot tear gas grenades found in the area, and not the first group whom the police interrogated.

The grenades in the area had a range of only 100 meters, while the interrogated group of security personnel was 300 meters away, which means the grenades were likely shot by a different group.

Yesh Din also alleged that the police never came to review the scene of the incident.

In January 2010, the Justice Ministry said no indictments would be served in the case and that a police investigation had showed there was no criminal intent in harming Anderson.

Yesh Din attorneys Michael Sfard and Emily Schaeffer said it was “an extreme case of police negligence” and that officers had not examined the scene and had questioned the wrong people.

“To date, the border police who were within firing range of Tristan have never been questioned,” they said. “We live with the consequences every day, but the persons who shot him are not held responsible and justice has not been done.”

The state agreed to pass on new items of evidence as they are discovered within 15 days of discovery.

It also committed to completing the new round of review and to updating the court on the review within 120 days.

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