Tom Hurndall, the British Photographer shot in Gaza while shepherding young children out of the line of fire, died last night at 7.45pm. His death came nine months after an incident in which he was shot in the head by an IDF soldier which left him in a vegetative state.
The traumatic nature of his injuries has meant that at any time Tom has been vulnerable to serious infection and his death came after his body was unsuccessful in overcoming an episode of Pneumonia.
At a hearing on Monday, a soldier arrested last week in connection with the shooting of Tom Hurndall, has finally been indicted on six charges: Aggravated Assault; two counts of Obstruction of Justice; Incitement to False Testimony; False Testimony; Improper Conduct.
The decision of the court to prosecute the soldier on a charge of Aggravated Assault rather than attempted murder is based on the assumption that the soldier did not intend to murder Tom.
The family believes that based on its own extensive investigation and the soldiers testimony that he shot Tom using an advanced telescopic lens, it is improbable that the shot which entered Tom’s forehead was intended to do anything other than kill.
The family will be pressing its lawyers to ensure that the appropriate charge - murder, is applied in this case. The family lawyers were advised by the prosecuting judge yesterday afternoon that in the event of Tom’s death, the charges are likely to be changed.
The new charges shall be either manslaughter or murder. The maximum penalty for Manslaughter is 20 years imprisonment and for Murder there is only one penalty - life imprisonment.
Tom’s family have made it clear that they will be satisfied with nothing less than the full prosecution for the person responsible for murdering Tom and they expect the imposition of the maximum penalty in this respect. They additionally expect that the harshest penalties should be imposed on all those involved in the obstruction of justice.
NB: A second soldier has been detained and is expected to be indicted on charges of Obstructing Justice and False Testimony.
The indictment of this soldier and his testimony have totally destroyed the credibility of the initial IDF investigation and Field Report. It was this Field Report - presented to the British Embassy in Tel Aviv and later to the family of Tom Hurndall last May, that totally exonerated the soldier(s) responsible in the shooting of Tom Hurndall.
It is very much the case that if it were not for the ceaseless campaigning and lobbying on the part of Tom Hurndall’s family and friends and in particular the family’s own investigation (which amassed 14 independent eyewitness statements along with photographic and ballistic evidence) a military police investigation is not likely to have been instigated and the truth would have remained uncovered.
The family now assert that the existing initial inquiry procedure is by its nature flawed and prone to abuse and they ask that the IDF immediately review its initial inquiry procedure with a view to replacing it with an independent inquiry.
They further call on the Israeli Army to radically examine the current rules of engagement and to take steps to eradicate the existing culture of impunity which exists in the Occupied Territories.
The family hope that the prosecution of those responsible for the shooting of Tom Hurndall and the prosecution of those responsible for the deliberate fabrication of evidence, will send the strongest message to all soldiers on the ground in the Occupied Territories ‘that the shooting or killing of innocent civilians and breaches in basic human rights will not be tolerated.’
For further information please contact Carl Arrindell - Family spokesperson on UK mobile numbers 07799 768768 or 07956 997 497. Email firstname.lastname@example.org