Al Jazeera report, 31 March 2016
No murder charge for Israeli soldier in shooting death
Prosecutor downgrades charge against soldier who shot dead wounded Palestinian to manslaughter from murder.
An Israeli soldier caught on video fatally shooting a wounded Palestinian as he lay on the ground will now reportedly face a charge of manslaughter rather than murder.
The prosecutor’s decision on Thursday comes a day after the UN said the killing of Abed al-Fattah Yusri al-Sharif, 21, exhibited all the signs of an extrajudicial execution.
Footage of the incident showed the Israeli soldier step forward and shoot the Palestinian in the head at close range as he lay motionless on the ground.
“[We are] hearing that the prosecutor has now downgraded the potential charge from murder – which is an extremely rare charge to be levelled against any member of the Israeli army – to manslaughter,” Al Jazeera‘s Stephanie Dekker, reporting from West Jerusalem, said.
Fattah and another man, who was earlier shot and killed, were accused of stabbing an Israeli soldier in Hebron.
Military prosecutors said on Thursday the Israeli soldier opened fire “with intent and with no operational need” in Fattah’s killing, Israeli radio reported.
Palestinian activists in Hebron have demanded that Israel holds its army accountable for Fattah’s killing.
Meanwhile, hundreds of nationalist Israelis, some wrapped in Israeli flags, have demonstrated in support of the soldier outside the military court near the southern Israeli town of Kiryat Malachi.
They included opposition politician Avigdor Lieberman, who told the crowd on Tuesday: “I prefer a soldier who made a mistake but is still alive, over a dead soldier who hesitated.”
On Wednesday, Christof Heyns, the UN’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said: “Whatever legal regime one applies to the case, shooting someone who is no longer a threat is murder.”