30 June 2010
The Israeli District Attorney announced last week that the police will revisit its investigation into the shooting of American activist, Tristan Anderson, who was critically injured by a high velocity tear gas projectile that was shot directly at him by an Israeli Border Police officer during an anti-Wall protest in the West Bank village of Ni’ilin on March 13th, 2009.
The case was closed earlier this year on grounds of “lack of wrongdoing”, and will now be reopened following an appeal filed on behalf of Anderson’s family by attorneys Michael Sfard and Ido Tamari. The appeal, which pointed out grave flaws and negligence in the original investigation, was based on an independent investigation, held parallel to the one the police conducted. It shows clearly that the police decided to close the case despite the fact that the investigating team had never visited the scene of the shooting, and as a result questioned officers who had nothing to do with Anderson’s shooting and, in fact, could have had nothing to do with the shooting, as there was no direct line of fire between where they were positioned and were Anderson was shot.
A second Border Police crew, which was located in the area where Anderson was shot from according to all civilian eye witnesses, was never questioned at all. The force’s commanders, who carry responsibility for the shooting were also not held accountable.
The decision to re-launch the investigation following the appeal is, in effect, an acceptance of Anderson’s family’s claims that the investigation which cleared the Border Police officers from responsibility to their son’s critical injury was fundamentally flawed and negligent.
Attorney Michael Sfard: “With this kind of negligence, it is no wonder that the world does not trust Israeli investigations. Our own independent investigation was easily able to show, despite our meager resources, that the shooting was done directly at Anderson and with absolutely no justification. We will not rest until the shooter is brought to justice”.
Nancy Anderson, Tristan’s mother: “We expect someone to finally take responsibility for our son’s shooting. It is unimaginable to us that soldiers will shoot unarmed civilians whose sole crime was to demonstrate, and that no one will be held accountable. The re-launching of the investigation, so we hope, is a much needed first step towards justice for us and for our son.”
Anderson left Israel and returned to the USA with his family at the beginning of the month, after almost a year and a half of hospitalization in Tel Hashomer hospital in Tel Aviv. His condition remains serious as he suffered irreversible brain damage as a result of the shooting.