The state is obligated to pay damages to the family of a Palestinian girl killed by a Border Policemen in East Jerusalem three years ago, a Jerusalem District Court judge ruled yesterday.
In 2007, Abir Aramin, a 10-year-old from the East Jerusalem village of Anata, was walking home from school with her sister and two of their friends when she was struck in the head by a rubber bullet fired by Border Police officers. She was rushed to Makassed Hospital, where doctors pronounced her dead.
After the police did not indict the officers involved in the shooting, the Aramin family filed a civil suit with the Jerusalem District Court. The presiding judge, Orit Efaal-Gabay, rejected the state's claim that the girl had been struck in the head by an errant stone hurled by Palestinian protesters.
"There cannot be any disagreement over the conclusion that Abir was struck by a rubber bullet fired by Border Police forces, which also leads to the conclusion that the shot which struck Abir was either fired negligently or in violation of rules of engagement," Gabay ruled.
The judge also dismissed the state's argument that the Border Policemen had been firing on a group of rioters. "There were no stones being hurled at Border Police forces from the road Abir and her friends were walking on," Gabay wrote. "Thus there was no discernible reason to shoot in that direction."
In addition to the civil suit, the Aramin family and the human rights group Yesh Din petitioned the High Court of Justice, demanding that the officers involved in the shooting be placed on trial.
The state argued that it was unable to rule out the possibility that Aramin had been struck by an errant stone thrown by Palestinian protesters in her village, and therefore could not proceed with any criminal charges.
Last February, however, the Supreme Court issued an order requiring the state to explain why it had not conducted the required supplementary investigations. The state is scheduled to update the court on the relevant progress it has made by the end of this month.
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