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Family of Eyad al-Hallaq petitions High Court on officer's acquittal

The family of Eyad al-Hallaq filed an appeal to the Supreme Court against the acquittal of the border police officer who shot and killed the special needs Palestinian man, the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights said on Tuesday.

The appeal, which came a day after the State Attorney's Office reportedly told the family that they would not be challenging the Jerusalem District Court's ruling, argued that the state's decision was extremely unreasonable.

The decision not to challenge the acquittal would establish legal norms that would greatly expand the threshold for the acceptable use of force, argued Adalah and the Meezaan Organization for Human Rights, who filed the petition on behalf of the family.

“The District Court’s judgment significantly broadens the scope of exemptions from criminal liability, to shield police officers in the rare cases where they face trial for extrajudicial killings of Palestinians," said the family's legal team. "Israeli security force officers are protected from criminal responsibility when they violate the law, relying on a subjective sense of danger, even if their actions are unreasonable given their distorted perception of the situation at the time of the incident."

Al-Hallaq was killed in 2020 in an incident near Jerusalem's Old City. The border police officer claimed that he didn't realize the 32-year-old autistic student had mental difficulties, and thought he was acting suspiciously and had something in his hand as he approached the Lion's Gate. When the man didn't obey commands and fled, the officer gave chase and shot al-Hallaq. He was acquitted of second-degree murder charges on July 6....