After one year of investigations and inquiries, Forensic Architecture -the London-based multidisciplinary research group- announced that the killing of Ahmed Erekat by Israeli soldiers was undoubtedly an ‘extrajudicial execution’.
One year ago, a Palestinian civilian was shot dead at a checkpoint between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, when he was on his way to pick up his mother and sisters from a beauty salon who were getting ready for his sister’s wedding party. “He was pressed for time to pick up his sisters, the flowers, and all these other things from Bethlehem,” said Emad Erekat, Ahmad’s cousin.
In June 2020 Ahmed Erekat was shot by an Israeli police officer in the occupied West Bank, and to make it worse, he was left to bleed till he died an hour later. According to witnesses, Israeli policeman also stopped a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance from helping him, which could at least prevent his death.
Later the police said Ahmed wanted to run over a female soldier by his car, so they fired him. Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said the man “drove his vehicle quickly towards the direction of a female border police officer who was injured lightly”. But this claim was fully rejected by Palestinian officials then.
Forensic Architecture is an organization which consists of different groups of experts who are specialized in investigating violation of human rights around the world. They are on behalf of communities affected by state violence, and their investigations are bids to clarify complex cases based on evidences.
In Ahmed Erekat case, this organization announced that he was no threat to any Israeli police forces, and he could be alive now if the Red Crescent ambulance was not stopped. “Our analysis raises major questions about Ahmed’s killing that raise doubts in the Israeli army’s claims and call for further investigation,” they stated in a report which was published on Tuesday.
Unlike what the Israeli soldier claimed, Forensic Architecture experts said that he braked before arriving to her. “The car’s speed did not exceed 15 km/hr [9.3 miles per hour] – its acceleration was constant and low throughout, implying that there was no sudden attempt to speed up,” They said. And also there were so many other evidences “that cast doubt on the army’s narrative”, the report added.
Ahmed’s body was also kept by Israeli police and was not handed to his family for months. Of course, this was not the first time that one of the Palestinian families was under such oppression.
For years and years, Palestinians experienced such brutality toward their families. Death of an innocent youth who was on the way to his sister’s wedding and was expecting his own wedding the following month, is not an incident to be found every day around the world.
For many human right organizations, it’s obvious that Israel uses excessive force against those who can be a threat to its forces, specially unarmed Palestinians. The Israeli government has enforced severe discriminatory restrictions on Palestinians’ human rights since decades ago. They also transferred so many Israeli citizens to illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank in recent years.
27 more Palestinian civilians were killed last year in the occupied lands by Israeli soldiers. This amount of brutality and oppression on Palestinians has been recurrently condemned by human right organizations and was dubbed as a violation of international law.