B'tselem to call for Ni'lin death probe

Human rights group plans to demand police inquiry into death of 2nd Palestinian killed in clashes.

tear gas niilin  224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
tear gas niilin 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
The human rights group B'tselem plans to demand a police investigation into the death of Yousef Ahmed Younis Amera, 18, who died Monday of wounds he sustained late last week when he was shot in the head, allegedly by a border policeman, in the Palestinian village of Ni'lin, east of the West Bank city of Modi'in Illit. Clashes between Palestinians and Border Police have broken out frequently in the last few months during continued protests against construction of the security barrier in that area. On Wednesday, an 11-year-old Palestinian boy Ahmed Ussam Yusef Mousa was allegedly killed by Border Police who fired live ammunition during one such demonstration. Border Police said Amera was injured Thursday by a rubber-coated bullet during a riot that broke out in the aftermath of Mousa's funeral. The Border Police added that no inquiry into Amera's death was necessary. "The message we stress is that anyone who enters a danger zone is putting themselves at risk," a Border Police spokesman said. "We use crowd-dispersal equipment, including rubber-coated bullets," he added. But B'tselem spokeswoman Sarit Michaeli said that according to several witnesses at the scene the young man was not involved in the clashes that occurred that evening between Border Police and young Palestinian men from the village. He was standing at the entrance to his home when he was shot, she said. "At the very least, these allegations have to be looked into," Michaeli said. "The Border Police have authority to use crowd control measures against the breaches of the peace, but they are only allowed to use a certain degree of force," she said. "Even when there are riots there are rules to these policing actions," she added. "Police are only permitted to fire at people who are endangering them," she said. Her organization, she said, is collecting material on the incident and plans to ask the department of police investigations to formally probe the matter. Amera's funeral procession began Monday evening in Ramallah, where he was hospitalized in a vegetative state after Thursday night's shooting. The march progressed toward Ni'lin, where clashes broke out between the Border Police and mourners. According to Border Police, at the entrance to the village, a number of Palestinians blocked a main road used by Israeli vehicles, and Border Police intervened again with crowd-dispersal means. But according to Jonathan Pollak of Anarchists Against the Wall the police set up a road block along the funeral's path. Mourners left their cars and walked toward the village. The Border Police, Pollak charged, threw stun grenades and tear gas at the mourners. One mourner was hit in the head by a tear gas projectile, he said. He added that village leaders managed to calm the situation down and the procession continued. Border police said that tensions decreased when the the coffin reached the village's mosque, Border Police added. According to Border Police, earlier on Monday between 50 and 100 Palestinians arrived at the entrance to Ni'lin, and began pelting Border Police officers with stones. Border Police said it had stationed forces in the village in order to prevent disturbances and violent demonstrations, as well as to prevent damage to the security fence which is being constructed in the area. Officers responded with crowd-dispersal means, the Border Police said, adding that no injuries were reported. But Pollak said the army and the Border Police invaded the village with no reason. Two teenagers were injured by rubber bullets, said Pollak and tear gas was thrown into a home. By Monday night, however, after Amera's funeral, the situation had calmed down, Border Police said. Although there is no investigation into Amera's death, Judea and Samaria police are leading an investigation in the Moussa killing. Border Police found that live ammunition was used by officers, in violation of the rules of engagement. A border policeman is now under house arrest in connection with the shooting.