The State Attorney’s Office will not challenge the acquittal of a Border Police officer who shot and killed a Palestinian man with mental disabilities, the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel said on Monday.
Adalah said that the state had informed the family of slain disabled student Iyad Al-Hallak on Monday that it would accept the July 6 ruling of the Jerusalem District Court dropping the second degree murder charges.
The family’s lawyers demanded a Supreme Court appeal, criticizing the district court’s ruling saying that it had based its decisions on the subjective feelings and perspectives of the officer, who claimed to have thought that Al-Hallak was acting odd and armed.
The circumstances surrounding the shooting
The officer in 2020 allegedly failed to understand that the autistic man had mental difficulties when the man failed to follow commands at the Old City of Jerusalem’s Lion Gate.
The officer said that he believes the man to be acting suspiciously and had an object in his hand. When Hallak ran, the officer gave chase. He reportedly did not hear commands not to fire, and instead that he was an armed terrorist, and fired twice.
“The decision of the State Attorney’s office perpetuates Israel's systemic policy of near-blanket impunity for its police and other armed forces when they kill and injure Palestinians, and sanctions this impunity in its legal system,” said the family’s legal team. “This ruling signals to all officers of Israel's armed forces that they will not be held accountable for any unlawful killings, and serves as a manual on how to retroactively justify their actions. Any police officer who has executed a Palestinian now understands that he can legitimize his heinous actions by simply informing the court that he felt threatened and that there were intelligence alerts of terrorist activities.”
Adalah said that the family had been informed of the decision two days before the state’s filing deadline. The family’s legal team, Adalah, and the Meezaan Organization for Human Rights will reportedly prepare an appeal to the Supreme Court.