Despite media leak, Israeli forensic center hasn't given autopsy report to widow of Bedouin man killed by police

Israeli police still refuse to return body of Umm al-Hiran resident Abu Al-Qi'an to family for burial; Supreme Court hearing on issue to be held today (23 January 2017) at 3 PM.

Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel sent a letter on 22 January 2017 to Abu Kabir Forensic Institute Director Dr. Chen Kugel, Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh, and the Justice Ministry's Police Investigations Division (Mahash) demanding that they provide the widow of Ya'akub Musa Abu Al-Qi'an with a copy of his autopsy report.


Abu Al-Qi'an, a 50-year-old math teacher from Atir-Umm al-Hiran in the Naqab (Negev), Israel's southern desert region, was killed after Israeli police opened fire on his vehicle as he was driving through the Bedouin village during state preparations for a large-scale home demolition.


The body of Abu Al-Qi'an was examined at Abu Kabir on 18 January 2017, and his widow has yet to receive a copy of the autopsy report.


This request joins an earlier Adalah appeal from 20 January 2017 demanding Israeli police return Abu Al-Qi'an's body to his family for burial.


Ya'akub Musa Abu Al-Qi'an (Photo courtesy of Mossawa Center)


Adalah Attorney Mohammad Bassam emphasized in the letter that "given the family's request for information regarding the suspicious circumstances and causes of his [Abu Al-Qi'an's] death, we are asking you to immediately provide us with the initial autopsy report. We also request to be updated on the complete results of the autopsy once they become available."


Adalah stressed that the initial findings of the autopsy report have already been leaked to the Israeli media and there is therefore no reason for the authorities to refuse to provide the report directly to the family.


"The concealment of information from the family, as public and media debate on this very issue rages, harms the family's dignity and right to understand the circumstances of the deceased's death – particularly in light of the baseless accusations being leveled against the deceased."


Police refuse to return Abu Al-Qi'an's body


On 20 January 2017, Adalah, Al-Mizan Center for Human Rights, and Knesset Member Taleb Abu Arar (Joint List) filed a petition to the Israeli Supreme Court on behalf of the family of Abu Al-Qi'an demanding that Israeli police immediately and unconditionally return their son's body for burial.


Israeli police have been refusing to return Abu Al-Qi'an's body to his family for burial since that time.


In the petition, Adalah Attorney Nadeem Shehadeh and Al-Mizan Attorney Omar Khamaisy, wrote: "The police has no legal authority to hold the body. There is no procedure that allows police to keep the body in their possession and the police is therefore acting without any element of authority.


"Not only does [the police's] holding of the body impinge upon the dignity of the deceased and his family, it is also a serious deviation from all legal authority, has no justifiable or legitimate purpose, and is driven by ulterior motivations."


A court hearing on the petition has been scheduled for 15:00, Monday, 23 January 2017, at the Israeli Supreme Court in Jerusalem.



READ: Adalah’s letter requesting autopsy report [Hebrew]


READ: Adalah’s letter requesting return of body [Hebrew]