State Attorney’s Office: killing a wounded, fleeing boy by shooting him in the back merely a “reckless and negligent act”

Published: 
14 Apr 2015

B’Tselem: new low in Israeli authorities’ disregard for lives of Palestinians in Occupied Territories

Today Israel’s State Attorney’s Office notified the High Court of Justice (HCJ) that in the case of Palestinian youth Samir ‘Awad it had decided, “subject to a hearing and to the end of privilege proceedings”, to file an indictment for the minor offense of committing “a reckless and negligent act using a firearm”. The State’s response did not note which of the soldiers involved was to stand trial.

This is a new low in Israeli authorities’ disregard for the lives of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. The State Attorney’s Office has sent security forces in the Occupied Territories a clear message: if you kill an unarmed Palestinian who poses no threat, we will do everything to cover it up and ensure impunity. Killing a wounded, fleeing youth who posed no threat by shooting him in the back is not a “reckless and negligent act”. The disparity between the grave action and the minor offense is incomprehensible and outrageous.

It is also not clear why it took two years and a petition to the HCJ for the authorities to decide to serve this indictment. Had the petition not been filed, would the Military Advocate General’s (MAG’s) Corps have continued to drag its feet? When, exactly, were the authorities planning to end this sorry affair? Sixteen-year-old Samir ‘Awad was killed in January 2013 by soldiers close to the Separation Barrier in the West Bank village of Budrus. He was shot in the back although he posed no danger to anyone. The Military Police Investigations Unit (MPIU) has long since completed all aspects of the investigation into the incident, yet although more than two years have passed since then, no decision was reached until today. The boy’s father, Ahmad ‘Awad, petitioned the HCJ together with B’Tselem a little over a year ago, in March 2014, to have the MAG decide whether to indict the soldiers who killed his son or close the case file.

Background on the incident

Samir ‘Awad being evacuated from the scene after being shot. Photo: 'Abd a-Nasser Murar
Samir ‘Awad being evacuated from the scene after being shot. Photo by 'Abd a-Nasser Murar, 15 Jan. 2013