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Mother of Bilin protestor killed by Israel files court petition

March 4, 2013 2:31 P.M. (Updated: March 5, 2013 6:40 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The mother of Bassem Abu Rahmah, who was killed in 2009 during a non-violent protest in Bilin, filed a petition to Israel's High Court on Sunday to demand justice for the death of her son, B'Tselem said.

The petition was filed jointly with Bilin village council, B'Tselem and Yesh Din, and demands that Israeli Military Advocate General, Major-General Danny Efroni, be ordered to reach a decision in the case and prosecute the soldier and all those bearing command responsibility for the killing of her son.

Bassam Abu Rahman, 30, was killed in 2009 after being shot in the chest with a tear-gas canister during a demonstration against Israel's separation wall.

Three video segments filmed during the protest prove that Abu Rahmah did not act violently and did not endanger the soldiers in any way, B'Tselem said.

The petition includes opinions from experts who reviewed the videos, stating that the grenade was aimed directly at Abu Rahmah.

Other soldiers in the same video can be seen firing tear-gas canisters directly at protestors in the presence of senior officers and in complete contravention of the open-fire regulations, B'Tselem said.

Despite these findings, the former Military Advocate General initially refused to open an investigation, only changing his mind after a threat to petition Israel's High Court with expert opinion documenting the "unequivocal conclusion that the firing was aimed directly at Abu Rahmah."

"The failure to reach a decision is dangerous and conveys the message to IDF and Border Guard personnel engaged in dispersing demonstrations that even if they shoot and kill demonstrators, they will not bear criminal liability," B'Tselem said.

"Such a message reflects contempt for the lives of Palestinian civilians."

The death of Bassam Abu Rahmah was featured in the highly praised Palestinian documentary "5 Broken Cameras."

The film is based on five years of amateur camera work by journalist Emad Burnat as he documented weekly protests against land seizures by Israeli forces and settlers in the village of Bilin.
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