9th July 2013 | Justice for Tristan | Jerusalem
Parents of US Activist Critically Wounded Following West Bank Protest Appeal to High Court of Israel: The Police Investigation was Shockingly Negligent – Demand a Serious, Professional Investigation into the Shooting of their Son.
Tristan Anderson (41, of Oakland, CA) was severely wounded after having been shot in the head with a high velocity tear gas grenade* (made in the USA) fired by Israeli Border Police following a protest in the West Bank Village of Ni’lin, resulting in severe permanent brain damage and paralysis to half his body.
Attorneys for Anderson’s family, along with Israeli NGO Yesh Din, will appear before the Israeli High Court of Justice on Wednesday, JULY 10. The petition challenges the investigation that they claim was blatantly inadequate, with the identity of the shooter still being actively withheld to this day.
“Tristan will live the rest of his life with serious mental and physical limitations and chronic pain. This has devastated his life and profoundly affected our family forever,” said Nancy Anderson, Tristan’s mother.
No criminal charges have been brought against any police or military personnel involved in the 2009 shooting of their son. Video evidence uncovered during the course of an ongoing civil lawsuit (trial begins November 10, 2013 in Jerusalem for the civil suit) raises further questions on the credibility of State witnesses, who in contradiction to sworn testimony, are clearly seen shooting tear gas directly at protesters from close range in the video, which was taken earlier that day. The video also raises serious questions relating to the true locations of the various squads of Border Police present at the time of the shooting, with investigators opting only to question those squads that were on the other side of the town at the time the shooting occurred, while failing to question the squad that was stationed on the nearby hill where activist witnesses say the shots came from. As well, investigators failed to visit the scene of the shooting and made no attempts to collect physical evidence.
Michael Sfard and Emily Schaeffer, attorneys for the Anderson family commented:
“The astonishing negligence of this investigation and of the prosecutorial team that monitored its outcome is unacceptable, but it epitomizes Israel’s culture of impunity. Tristan’s case is actually not rare; it represents hundreds of other cases of Palestinian victims whose investigations have also failed.”
Tristan joined the ranks of scores of other protesters who have been seriously injured or killed during demonstrations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in recent years. On March 13, 2009 he was in Ni’alin demonstrating against the annexation of village lands to build the controversial “Separation Wall” when he was shot. Witnesses insist there was no stone throwing in his immediate surroundings at the time when he was shot, and that the shooting was “unexpected and unprovoked”.
“Tristan’s shooting is part of a pattern of deadly violence being used against protesters in the Occupied Territories, who are not recognized as having a fundamental right to political self-determination,” said Gabrielle Silverman, Tristan’s girlfriend, and a witness to his shooting. “We need real accountability and a high standard of human rights, but instead what we get is the military running cover for their soldiers.”
The family of Tristan Anderson is calling the investigation “a cover up and a sham”.
*Tristan Anderson was shot with a High Velocity Tear Gas grenade- sometimes also called “Extended Range Tear Gas”- which is manufactured by Combined Systems Inc in Jamestown, Pennsylvania.