Ma'an News Agency
June 24, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel's District Attorney ordered an investigation into the incident that left an American protester in a persistent coma, now in its 15th month.

US activist Tristan Anderson was shot in the head with a high-velocity tear-gas canister as he supported Palestinian protesters in the village of Ni'lin on 13 March 2009. A court found the investigation into the incident was wrought with "grave negligence" during an appeal session on Wednesday.

The original findings of an investigation, found a "lack of wrongdoing" by Israeli border forces. The findings will be scrapped following an appeal filed on behalf of Anderson's family by attorneys Michael Sfard and Ido Tamari, a statement from the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee said.

According to the committee, the appeal was based on an independent investigation, held in parallel to the one the police conducted, which found negligence and serious flaws in the process and findings.

The findings of the independent investigation "shows clearly that the police decided to close the case despite the fact that the investigating team had never visited the scene of the shooting, and as a result questioned officers who had nothing to do with Anderson's shooting and, in fact, could have had nothing to do with the shooting, as there was no direct line of fire between where they were positioned and were Anderson was shot," the committee reported.

Commenting on the initial investigation, Anderson's lawyer said "With this kind of negligence, it is no wonder that the world does not trust Israeli investigations. Our own independent investigation was easily able to show, despite our meager resources, that the shooting was done directly at Anderson and with absolutely no justification. We will not rest until the shooter is brought to justice".

Compiling civilian eyewitness testimony and reports from the Palestinian Red Crescent, the independent investigation determined that accounts presented by the Israeli investigation were impossible, and put together a presentation detailing discrepancies.

Anderson remained in a Tel Aviv hospital for more than a year after the shooting, as his family waited for his condition to stabilize. He was moved back to the United States at the beginning of May. According to reports, the 39 year old Anderson suffered irreversible brain damage in the attack.

"We expect someone to finally take responsibility for our son's shooting. It is unimaginable to us that soldiers will shoot unarmed civilians whose sole crime was to demonstrate, and that no one will be held accountable. The re-launching of the investigation, so we hope, is a much needed first step towards justice for us and for our son," Tristan's mother Nancy Anderson said in a statement.

On 31 May, American art student Emily Henochowicz was participating in a protest against Israel's attack on the Freedom Flotilla on its way to Gaza.

During the protest, Henochowicz was shot in the face with a high-velocity tear-gas canister and evacuated to hospital, where she lost her left eye.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017