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Appeal For Investigation Into Shooting

Appeal For Investigation Into Shooting

On Wednesday, September 20, Israeli attorney Michael Sfard will again apply to the Israeli Supreme Court in Jerusalem demanding that the IDF open an investigation into the circumstances of the >shooting of Brian Avery in Jenin on 5th April 2003. The application will be heard by judges Beinish, Arbel and Heshin at 9am.

The preliminary investigation conducted by the Israeli military concluded that no Israeli military personnel were responsible for the shooting, stating that its forces were not in the area at the time. Following a petition in June 2004, the Supreme Court ordered the military to open an investigation into the shooting in February 2005. The court ordered the Israeli military to interview witnesses, who had provided affidavits to a lawyer before they left Israel in 2003 which identified Israeli military personnel as responsible, and present their findings to the court within 90 days. In November 2005 the Israeli military still felt the case didn't merit any further investigation whereupon attorney Sfard entered another appeal. The hearing, initialy set for 9th August 2006, was postponed until September 20th. This appeal is the last opportunity for Brian Avery to seek justice in the Israeli criminal law system.

Brian Avery, an ISM volounteer from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, was shot in Jenin on 5th April 2003. This was done at short range, by a MAG machine gun mounted on an Israeli tank, while his hands were raised and he was wearing the fluorescent jacket of the medical rescue team in which he was a volunteer. The killing of Rachel Corrie (on 16th March 2003), Tom Hurndall (on 11th April 2003) and the photographer James Miller (on 2nd May 2003) - all three by the Israeli military - in the Gaza strip, took place within 6 weeks of Brian's injury. Verdicts of intentional killing and murder were handed out over the deaths of Tom Hurndall and James Miller.

Brian, whose face was shattered, was taken in an Israeli military helicopter to Rambam Hospital, where he underwent several life-saving operations. He was hospitalized for several months, and his medical bill for that period was paid by the Israeli military. He was supported by several activists in Haifa, as well as by his colleagues from the ISM, both while hospitalized and during his visit last year, when he submitted his appeal.

Since his return to the US Brian underwent extensive reconstruction and rehabilitation surgery that is very costly and has not yet been completed. The Israeli military does not recognize its responsibility for the shooting and refuses to bear the costs of the ongoing medical treatment.

The presence of supporters in the court is urgently required as this could be Brian's last bid for justice.


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