Israeli Police refuse to conduct autopsy of body of Palestinian minor Mu’taz Ewisat
On 4 November 2015, Adalah and Palestinian prisoner group Addameer sent an urgent request to the Israeli Police Investigations Unit (Mahash) for a criminal investigation into a police officer implicated in the killing of Mu’taz Ewisat, a Palestinian minor (16 years old) from the Jabal al-Mukaber neighborhood of East Jerusalem. The two organizations further demanded that an autopsy of his body be conducted before it is returned to his parents, with the presence of a medical examiner commissioned by his family.
The Israeli police have refused to perform an autopsy on the body, and the Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court has refused to order them to do so. The examination file has simply been closed based on accounts given by police officers. The request was submitted by Adalah Attorney Aram Mahameed and Attorney Muhammad Mahmoud from Addameer on behalf of the Ewisat family.
Mu’taz Ewisat was killed by Israeli police gunfire on 17 October 2015 in the Jewish settlement of Armon HaNatziv in East Jerusalem. In contrast to other death cases involving Palestinians, the killing was not filmed, and the family only learned of his death from the media. Adalah and Addameer stressed that in the absence of any other evidence, the police’s refusal to conduct an autopsy further raises suspicion of a criminal act and of an attempt to tamper with evidence condemning police officers and thwart the investigation before it could begin.
Adalah and Addameer argued in the request that the police had no justification for opening live fire on Mu’taz Ewisat, and that they had other courses of action available to them that could have secured his arrest. Had the police any intention of arresting and searching him, they could have done so, for example by warning him or firing into the air. His death leaves no room for doubt that the firing of live bullets to kill Palestinians has become standard operating procedure for the Israeli police.