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Israeli court rejects Palestinian role in Hebron 'execution' autopsy

March 31, 2016 2:28 P.M. (Updated: April 1, 2016 11:34 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israel's top court on Thursday refused an appeal to allow a Palestinian doctor to participate in the autopsy of Abd al-Fattah al-Sharif, a Palestinian who was shot in the head by an Israeli soldier while he lay wounded on the ground in Hebron last week.

Israeli authorities initially agreed to allow a Palestinian doctor inside the room while the autopsy was conducted to take notes, but al-Sharif's family rejected the offer, demanding that a Palestinian take part in the autopsy itself.

Ahmad Safiya, a lawyer for the Palestinian Prisoner's Society said the Israeli Supreme Court refused the appeal, and ordered that Safiya be notified of the date of autopsy so he would be able to issue a permit for a Palestinian doctor to attend as previously agreed.

The Israeli prosecution informed him that it would take place next Sunday.

Graphic video footage of al-Sharif's killing has been met with wide condemnation from rights groups and international bodies, with the UN demanding an investigation into the soldier's apparent "extrajudicial execution."

"We are concerned this killing may not be a lone incident," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville said in a recent statement, adding that "all incidents where security forces have caused death or injury should be fully investigated, and those responsible brought to account."

A number of Palestinian families signed a letter late last year demanding that families should be allotted time to request an official autopsy report on their dead relatives. Autopsy reports are used in official paperwork necessary to file cases against Israeli authorities at the International Criminal Court.

Palestinians have historically distrusted Israeli military investigations and the ability of Israeli authorities to conduct unbiased autopsies of Palestinians slain by Israeli forces, and rights groups have repeatedly criticized Israel for offering impunity to Israelis who harm Palestinians.
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