Sunday, May 22, 2005

Coverage of Jocelyn Hurndall's reaction to the investigation of her son Tom's death

THE mother of a British peace activist shot dead in the Gaza Strip accused Israel's Government of a cover-up as the trial of the marksman who allegedly killed him ended yesterday.
Jocelyn Hurndall said she had little confidence that her family would achieve real justice, and that they were likely to issue civil proceedings against the Israeli Government.
Tom Hurndall, 22, a photojournalism student from Tufnell Park, North London, died from a single shot to the head as he was moving Palestinian children to safety in Rafah, Gaza, in April 2003.
Mrs Hurndall, who walked out of an earlier hearing when the defence blamed his death on British doctors’ negligence, accused the Israeli military of pushing all the blame on to one "trigger-happy" soldier.
Sergeant Wahid Taysir, 21, an award-winning marksman in the desert patrol (Beduin) battalion, denies six charges of manslaughter, obstructing justice and conduct unbecoming a soldier. Initially he claimed Mr Hurndall was wearing a camouflage jacket and holding a gun, the court was told. He later changed his story to say that he fired a warning shot four inches left of Mr Hurndall’s ear "but he moved his head".

The above was sent in by Kara and it's from The Sunday Times of London -- Stephen Farrell's "Shot activist's mother says trial of sniper is a cover-up."

Same topic, from The Guardian, we'll note Chris McGreal's "Mother of shot activist accuses Israeli army of cover-up:"

As the trial ended, Mrs Hurndall accused senior army officers of creating a "trigger happy" climate and said the deaths of innocent people were covered up.
"The soldier might be convicted but the trial is not concerned with the wider justice to do with the chain of command and the culture of lies," said Mrs Hurndall outside the Kastina military court. The soldier has said himself that he has been used as a scapegoat ... I'm sure that's what happened."
Mrs Hurndall said there had only been a more thorough investigation because of her family's own efforts and pressure from the British government.
Israel also refused to cooperate with a British coroner's inquiry and barred Mr Hurndall's brother, Billy, from travelling to Israel to investigate the shooting.
"From the start it was a tremendous shock that we were not dealing with authorities who were adamant about getting to the truth," she said.
"You can only conclude that the command colluded in the soldier's original lies, and colluded in it for weeks until they couldn't sustain it any more."

Same topic, the UK's Telegraph, Tim Butcher's "Shot student's mother claims cover-up:"

The original military report claimed that her son was in camouflage clothes and brandishing a weapon. It was only after the family interviewed civilian witnesses at the Gaza refugee camp where the shooting occurred that the army accepted another version of events.
The witnesses said Mr Hurndall was wearing a bright orange jacket and helping children to escape tanks.
Mr Hurndall died in a London hospital after spending nine months in a coma.

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