Israeli Police Kills Palestinian Autistic Man Freed in Court

Israeli Police Kills Palestinian Autistic Man Freed in Court
REUTERS/Sinan Abu Mayzer – In a shocking incident that occurred in 2020, an
Israeli policeman fatally shot Iyad al-Halaq, a 32-year-old Palestinian man
with autism. Despite the hopes for justice, an Israeli court recently
acquitted the accused officer, claiming that the tragic event unfolded
amidst the “unique intensity” of efforts to maintain security in Jerusalem.
This ruling has sparked widespread outrage and condemnation, as it appears
to reflect the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian tensions.

Mistaken Identity Leads to Tragedy

Iyad al-Halaq, known for his dedication to volunteering at a special needs
school, was on his way when he encountered a distressing encounter with the
police. Sadly, he became the victim of mistaken identity and lost his life
during the encounter. This heart-wrenching incident served as a catalyst,
igniting protests and further fueling the Israeli-Palestinian

Legal Proceedings and Controversial Acquittal

In 2021, the Jerusalem District Court brought charges of negligent homicide
against the policeman involved in the shooting. However, despite the
indictment, the accused officer, a junior recruit of the quasi-military
border police, was acquitted. Judge Miriam Lomp expressed sympathy for the
victim’s family but ultimately ruled in favor of the officer, based on the
belief that Halaq was mistakenly identified as a threat. The 70-page ruling
emphasized the unique challenges faced by security forces operating in the

Palestinians’ Frustration and International Criticism

The incident has added fuel to the fire of long-standing Palestinian
grievances against the Israeli police and troops, particularly in East
Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank. These regions have been at the center
of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict and are crucial to the
Palestinians’ aspirations for statehood. The decision to acquit the accused
officer has only intensified these frustrations, leading to widespread
condemnation and protests.

A Grieving Mother’s Plea for Justice

Halaq’s mother, Rana, devastated by the loss of her son, expressed her
anguish at the court’s decision. She firmly believes that her son’s killer
has been granted freedom while her family continues to suffer injustice.
Clutching her head in her hands, she mourns the loss of her son and the
perceived absence of justice.

Seeking Higher Justice through Appeals

Despite the acquittal, Halaq’s father, Kheiry, maintains hope that justice
will prevail. He is determined to pursue an appeal in a higher court, where
he believes his son’s case will receive a fairer assessment. The family’s
quest for justice continues as they navigate the legal avenues available to

Reactions from Israeli Authorities and Palestinian Ministry of Foreign

The Israeli Justice Department, responsible for overseeing the police
investigation, has announced that it will carefully review the verdict
before deciding on further actions. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Ministry of
Foreign Affairs has condemned the court’s decision, labeling the Israeli
justice system as an integral part of the occupation system itself. This
stance highlights the deep-rooted distrust and discontent harbored by
Palestinians towards the Israeli establishment.

Police Account and Controversial Circumstances

Israeli police have maintained their position that they resort to force or
open fire only when necessary. They claim that they suspected Halaq, who did
not respond to warnings in Hebrew and Arabic and was wearing a Covid-19
mask, of carrying weapons in Jerusalem’s Old City. As the unarmed Halaq
attempted to flee, a chase ensued, during which an officer shot him in the
leg but missed. Subsequently, the defendant fatally shot him in the stomach,
according to the indictment.

In conclusion, the tragic death of Iyad al-Halaq, a Palestinian man with
autism, at the hands of Israeli police has reignited the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict. The recent acquittal of the accused officer has intensified
frustrations and led to widespread condemnation. As the grieving family
seeks justice through legal channels, the case serves as a stark reminder of
the complex challenges faced in the pursuit of peace and justice in the

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