Court charges Israeli soldier of killing British peace activist in Rafah
An Israeli military court charged a soldier over the weekend with killing British peace activist Tom Hurndall in the Gaza Strip town of Rafah in April 2003.
The indictment, which originally charged the soldier with "grievous bodily harm," was changed to charges of manslaughter after Hurndall's death in January, according to HaAretz daily.
Additional charges in the indictment regard the soldier's behavior after the shooting took place. The soldier is charged with "obstruction of justice and giving false testimony".
According to the indictment, the soldier tried to cover up the circumstances of the shooting. A few days after Hurndall's death, the soldier was arrested until the end of legal proceedings.
22-year-old Hurndall, from North London, was shot while with the International Solidarity Movement, a pro-Palestinian group whose activists volunteer to serve as "buffers" between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians.
According to the Israeli army's version of the shooting, soldiers conducted a gun battle with armed Palestinians, and Hurndall was caught in the line of fire.
However, according to the ISM, Hurdnall was hit when he tried to pull two Palestinian children out of the line of fire. The latter version was confirmed following an investigation.
During the operation debriefing following the shooting, the soldier claimed that he shot at armed Palestinians, and did not see Hurndall. Others in the ISM claimed that according to photographs of the incident, Hurndall was wearing a bright orange vest identifying himself as unarmed.
Moreover, in the course of the Israeli military police investigation, the soldier admitted to seeing Hurndall and shooting him. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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