Home / Press Releases / Israeli Supreme Court set to determine fate of investigation into shooting of US human rights activist

Israeli Supreme Court set to determine fate of investigation into shooting of US human rights activist


Victim of injustice

On August the 9th, 2006, the Supreme Court of Israel will hold a final hearing into the request for a criminal investigation into the shooting of International Solidarity Movement member Brian Avery on April the 5th, 2003. Avery, who was shot in the face by Israeli soldiers while working as a human rights observer in the city of Jenin, Palestine. He received severe injuries to his face and jaws and has since required continuous medical treatment.

The initial Israeli military field report declared that no Israeli personnel were responsible for Mr. Avery’s injuries, stating that its forces were not in the area at the time. The investigators did not, however, interview any of the several civilian witnesses who were present at the scene (who identified Israeli military personnel as responsible), and included several errors which would serve to cast doubt on their conclusions.

In June of 2004 Mr. Avery, along with Israeli attorney Michael Sfard, entered a petition for a full criminal investigation into the Supreme Court of Jerusalem. The petition, which requested that the Israeli military police division conduct a thorough and unbiased investigation into the circumstances surrounding the injuries to Mr. Avery, was eventually granted a hearing on February the 28th, 2005. The presiding judges declared that, in the face of reasonable doubt having been placed into the Israeli military’s initial findings, the case did in fact merit further review. The Israeli military was then ordered to review its previous findings, as well as to interview all civilian witnesses and to present a decision to the court within 90 days.

After numerous continuances the Israeli military finally declared to the court in November 2005 that it still felt the case did not merit any further investigation, whereby an appeal was immediately entered by Mr. Sfard and a final hearing set for August 9, 2006. The hearing represents the last opportunity for Mr. Avery to seek justice in the criminal law system within Israel.


Michael Sfard, Attorney (Tel Aviv):
Tel: +972-3-560 7345
Fax: +972-3-560 7346

ISM Media office:
+972-2-297 1824

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