Israeli officer who killed unarmed autistic Palestinian 'was promoted'
An Israeli police officer who shot dead Iyad al-Halak, a Palestinian with autism, in occupied East Jerusalem in May 2020, was promoted this week despite facing a court case over the killing, it has emerged.
The officer, who belongs to the border police and whose name is under a gag order, shot Halak, 32, claiming he suspected the Palestinian of carrying a weapon. However Halak was unarmed, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prompted to apologise to his family in a rare move by an Israeli official.
On Monday, Israeli media reported that the police officer who killed Halak was promoted and recently made an operation sergeant in a base for Israel Border Police in Tel Aviv metropolitan area.
The police officer is currently facing a case at the Jerusalem district court on charges of recklessly killing Halak, and could face up to 12 years in prison if convicted.
Halak's family had previously criticised the Israeli authorities' investigation into his killing and called for much tougher charges.
Halak was wearing a mask while on his way to a school for people with disabilities in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem when he began to be chased by Israeli police officers and was shot.
In November, the police commissioner said he supported the officer who shot Halak.
"It is important for me to say that we are the ones who sent the fighter on the mission, and we have the responsibility to stand by his side even in these circumstances," Kobi Shabtai said.
Itamar Ben-Gvir, the Jewish supremacist MP recently appointed national security minister, who oversees the police and border police, has also previously expressed his support for the officer.
In August 2021, Halak's family accused police of deliberately "destroying cameras" that had evidence of the killing. The investigation into his shooting has been hampered by the lack of video evidence, despite reports that the area where he was killed had at least 10 CCTV cameras.