An Israeli state prosecutor decided Wednesday that no charges should be filed against two Israeli border control officers who shot and killed an unarmed Palestinian man in East Jerusalem in 2010. Ziad Jilani was shot in the back by the officers after a traffic accident in which his vehicle accidentally struck a police officer.Jilani was driving through an East Jerusalem street where officers had been firing rubber-coated steel bullets at youth, who were throwing stones at the officers. His windshield was hit by a stone, causing him to temporarily lose control of the vehicle and hit an Israeli policeman. Fearful for his life, Jilani fled the vehicle on foot but was chased down by Israeli officer Maxim Vinogradov who shot him in the back, and again while he was lying on the ground, killing him.
The Israeli state prosecutor, Yehuda Weinstein, upheld on Wednesday his previous decision not to file charges against Vinogradov or any of the other officers involved in the fatal shooting. In his statement to the press, Weinstein wrote, “We cannot rule out, beyond a reasonable doubt, that one of the officers really did believe in real time that the deceased, who moved his hand while lying wounded on the ground, was yet to be finally neutralized, and was still considered a danger. As a result, (Vinogradov) was startled, and committed another shooting from close range.”
On a blog commemorating her late husband’s life, Jilani’s widow, originally from Texas, wrote, “It takes a long lifetime hard work to raise a family and moments to steal the happiness of a family and its future. Once a happy family can never be that happy again, as Ziad’s face will not smile and his loud laughter will never be heard except while we are seeking and flipping the memories.”
According to a report by Pulse Media, “The case was closed last year, citing “lack of evidence” and the incident reported in Israeli media as a “hit-and-run terror attack”. Jilani’s widow, Moira Jilani, and the couple’s three daughters, with the help of the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, conducted an independent investigation (including an autopsy, which the Israeli authorities refused to do, and the Israeli media dubbed “body snatching”). After identifying the killers, Maxim Vinogrodov, a Border Patrol officer, and his commander, Shadi Kherraldin, Moira Jilani demanded that the Israeli government prosecute the officers involved.
Now that the Israeli government has again refused to pursue the case, Moira Jilani has vowed to pursue other legal channels to bring her husband’s killers to justice.