No Trial for Cops Suspected in Death of Palestinian Girl, 10

Abir Aramin was killed during recess at her school when she was hit in the head by a rubber bullet.

Two border policeman suspected of shooting and killing 10-year-old Abir Aramin with a rubber bullet outside her school in Anata in January 2007 will not stand trial, the High Court of Justice ruled yesterday. The High Court did, however, criticize the handling of the case.

The justices, who defined the police probe into the killing sloppy and deficient, said nonetheless that there was no room for the court to intervene, particularly since it would be difficult to conduct a new investigation four-and-a-half years after the girl had died.

Silwan Oct. 12, 2010 (Reuters)
Reuters / Ammar Awad

In January 2007, Aramin was killed during recess at her school when she was hit in the head by a rubber bullet. Not far from where she was killed, border policemen who had been deployed in Anata to guard the construction of the security barrier encountered disturbances and rock throwing, which they tried to bring under control with tear gas, stun grenades and the firing of rubber bullets.

Aramin's parents and the Yesh Din group petitioned the High Court in 2008, demanding that it instruct the attorney general to prosecute the border policemen on suspicion of killing their daughter.

Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch and Justices Edna Arbel and Ayala Procaccia ruled that while there were grounds for assuming that the girl was killed during the course of the shooting, the probe was rife with problems from the start and that it would not be possible to bring charges against the border policemen today.

At the time, the Judea and Samaria Police took statements from several village residents and from the four border policemen who were in the jeep during the incident. A week after the shooting, they re-enacted the patrol of the border policemen through the village.

Six months after the re-enactment, the officer who conducted it told investigators that there were no bloodstains at the site where Aramin had been killed. Some of the policeman reported that they had been questioned by their company commander about the incident, but there was no report of this interrogation in the investigation file.

Prosecutors decided to close the case for lack of evidence, and an appeal of that decision was rejected.

Attorney Michael Sfard, representing the Aramins, said, "To my regret, one can assume that if Abir had been a Jewish child, the investigation would have been immediately reopened, the evidence would have been collected professionally, and the prosecution would not have had a weak case."