Parents of Autistic Palestinian Shot by Police Petition High Court to Charge Officers

Eyad Hallaq's parents seek explanation as to why, almost four months after, Israel has failed to charge the officers who killed their son, despite substantial evidence

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
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Protesters ask for authorities to release investigation materials in the police killing of autistic Palestinian Eyad Hallaq, Jerusalem, June 9, 2020.
Protesters ask for authorities to release investigation materials in the police killing of autistic Palestinian Eyad Hallaq, Jerusalem, June 9, 2020.Credit: Emil Salman
Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

The parents of Eyad Hallaq, the East Jerusalem Palestinian who was killed by police in the mistaken belief he was a terrorist, have petitioned the High Court of Justice to conclude the investigation of the case and put the two police officers involved on trial. 

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Hallaq, a 32-year-old autistic man, was fatally shot after being pursued as a suspected terrorist by the officers in Jerusalem’s Old City on May 30. He was on his way to a special needs school that he attended.

The case has been under investigation by the Justice Ministry’s police misconduct unit since immediately following the shooting, but the investigation hasn’t wrapped up yet. According to sources with knowledge of the investigation, the expectation is that it will result either in a recommendation that the officers face disciplinary proceedings or that the case be closed. About a month ago, Justice Ministry investigators reenacted the sequence of events with the two officers. 

In their High Court petition, Hallaq’s parents, Rana and Khairy, seek a show cause order requiring that the police misconduct unit explain why no decision has been made on filing criminal charges against the policemen. “The evidentiary and factual foundation has been clear for some time,” the petition states, noting that investigation of the case began on the day of the incident.

A picture of Eyad Hallaq taped to the entrance of the Police Misconduct Unit at the Justice Ministry during a protest, Jerusalem, June 9, 2020.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

“Everyone knows that decisions like this are made day in and day out by various prosecutorial authorities, even in cases no less serious in which there are complex factual disputes. … This matter does not justify the considerable delay, mainly in light of the seriousness of the case and the tragic and exceptional outcome of the incident,” the petition states.

Supreme Court Justice Yosef Elron has ordered that the case be scheduled for hearing as soon as possible. He also ordered the government to submit its response to the petition no later than 14 days prior to the hearing, which has not yet been set.

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