Policeman Faces Murder Charge in Nakba Day Shooting of Palestinian Teen

Border Police, soldiers had denied using live fire during protests in which two teens were killed, but bullet found in one of boys' backpacks led to suspected gun.

A Border Police officer arrested Tuesday over the killing of a Palestinian youth during Nakba Day protests six months ago is facing murder charges. His commander was also arrested for allegedly covering up the shooting. 

The Judea and Samaria District Police on Tuesday detained an enlisted border policeman on suspicion that he shot and killed Palestinian youth Nadim Nuwara. Two Palestinian teenagers, Nuwara and Muhammad Salameh, were killed during protests in Beitunia, near Ramallah in the West Bank, on May 15.

The policeman's commander was also arrested on suspicion that he knew that the policeman had shot the boy and not reported it. The commander was released to house arrest until Sunday.

For some time, there were contradictions in the army and police versions of the killing, according to which no live fire was used but only means to disperse demonstrations.

The district police, responsible for investigating the use of live fire by border policemen in the occupied territories, interrogated all the policemen present at the event. They denied using live rounds, despite Palestinian claims that the boys had been killed by live bullets.

The military police investigator also met with the artillery corps soldiers who were involved in the event, and they also did not provide an explanation for the differing versions of events.

A breakthrough occurred after the Palestinians provided a bullet found in Nuwara's backpack. The bullet prompted investigators to inspect the weapon of one of the policemen, leading to his arrest on suspicion that he had fired live bullets and had lied about his role in the shooting.

The Jerusalem court extended his remand by six days.

A police spokesman commented that in light of recent reports the events in Bitunia are under investigation, which is under a gag order. The spokesperson stressed that the arrest of a suspect does not determine the guilt of a policeman.

He added that reports should be presented in an appropriate light until the end of the investigation and conclusions are drawn.