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Palestinian Boy Dies Days after Being Shot with a Rubber-Coated Bullet by Israeli Forces

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Al-haq-Danish-AwardAwrdOn 31 August 2014, 16-year-old Muhammad Abdelmajid Sunuqrut was shot by Israeli forces at approximately 8:15 P.M. in Wadi al-Joz neighbourhood in Jerusalem. On that day, Muhammad had left his house and headed to the mosque and then to the bakery to buy bread.

At approximately 8:15 P.M., Ahmad Fua’d al-Tamimi, 28, was in his car on a street near his house, approximately 10 metres away from anintersection leading to the main street. Ahmad recalls that there were confrontations between Israeli forces and Palestinian youth about half a kilometre away.He could hear sound canisters being fired. Ahmad heard a gunshot close by, and turned towards the intersection where he saw Muhammad Sunuqrut stumble before falling backwards onto the ground. Ahmad began walking towards Muhammad but stopped when he was about three metres away, as he sawsix Israeli officers approach and surround Muhammad. Ahmad saw one of the officers point to Muhammad and say“he is messing around”. The officer repeatedly pushed Muhammad’s foot with his own foot telling him “get up, get up”. Muhammad remained motionless on the ground. Ahmad called to the officers and asked them if he could come closer to Muhammad but they refused.

Ahmad recalls seeing the officers try tocarry Muhammad from his legs and then his arms. Ahmad started yelling that he was an injured child and an ambulance should be called. The officers did not provide Muhammad with medical aid and prevented anyone else from approaching him, despite his injury.

A young man then appeared, calling “my brother, my brother!” The officers allowed Muhammad’sbrother to approach the boyand asked him to take Muhammad and go. In the meantime, Ahmad had called an Israeli ambulance and the officershad allowed him to come closer to Muhammad. Ahmad was on the phone witha paramedic who asked him to check Muhammad’s heartbeat and other vital signs. When Ahmad asked where the ambulance was, the paramedic said that it was at the entrance of Wadi al-Joz waiting for an Israeli police car to escort it. Israeli ambulances are not allowed into Palestinian neighbourhoodsunless they are accompanied by Israeli forces, allegedly for security reasons.

Muhammad then began to vomit and shake. At the same time, residents of the neighbourhood congregated around the soldiers, some of whom threw stones at them. The soldiers retaliated by firing sound canisters, while Muhammad continued to lie on the ground.

At approximately 8:35 P.M., a Palestinian ambulance arrived and Muhammad was transferred to Al-Maqased Hospital in Jerusalem. The Palestinian ambulance arrived within ten minutes ofreceiving the call, whilethe Israeli ambulance never made it to the scene of the incident. Muhammad was left to bleed without proper medical assistance for approximately 25 minutes. On 7 September 2014, Muhammad died as a result of his injuries at the Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital in Jerusalem. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 9995/2014)

According to an autopsy conducted at the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute, Muhammad was shot with a rubber-coated metal bullet on the right side of his head from a 10 metre distance. The injury caused fractures to his skull, a brain haemorrhage, and tissue damage. The cause of death as stated in the report was the brain haemorrhage, which was the result of the skull fracture caused by the rubber bullet.

Al-Haq condemns the killing of 16-year-old Muhammad Sunuqrut. As the Occupying Power, Israel must conduct its activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in compliance with international human rights law (IHRL) and international humanitarian law (IHL). As such, Israel must respect the right to life of the occupied Palestinian population.

Al-Haq condemns the use of crowd control weapons by Israeli officers in a manner that endangers the lives of civilians. According to B’Tselem, since 2000 rubber-coated metal bullets fired by Israeli forces have killed at least 18 Palestinians, including 12 children. Amnesty International’s February 2014 report states that between January 2011 and December 2013, at least 8,000 Palestinians, including 1,522 children, were injured due to Israeli forces using weapons other than live ammunition. This figureincludes2,673 Palestinians that were shot with rubber-coated bullets. The Israeli authorities have an obligation to ensure that any excessive use of force against Palestinian civilians is held punishable as a criminal offence. Al-Haq urges the Israeli authorities to carry out immediate, transparent and impartial investigations into the circumstances that led to the killing of Muhammad Sunuqrut and the 33 other Palestinians who have beenkilled in the West Bank by Israeli security forces since 13 June 2014.

Furthermore, as an Occupying Power, Israel is bound by Article 12 (1) of the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), which requires States Parties to recognise the right of everyone to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. As such, Israel has a positive obligation to create conditions that assure medical service and medical attention to all in the event of sickness. Delays caused by ambulances requiringa police escort in Palestinian neighbourhoods represent a failure to fulfil this obligation in regard to the Palestinian population. As such, Israel is further violating its obligation under Article 2 (2) of ICESCR to guarantee the rights enunciated in the Covenant without discrimination.In addition, Al-Haq reminds Israel of its positive obligations to respect and protect the transport of sick civilians to hospital for treatment under IHL.

 

 

 

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