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Schoolgirl's killer walks free

freethepeeps | 16.11.2005 22:28 | World

An Israeli soldier known only as Captain 'R', was cleared of the killing of 13 year old Palestinian schoolgirl Imam Al-Hams in September 2004.

Imam Al-Hams
Imam Al-Hams

On Tuesday 15th November 2005,an Israeli military court cleared Capatain 'R' of charges of illegal use of a firearm, obstruction of justice, exceeding his authority and conduct unbecoming a company commander, whilst expressing 'regret' at the death of the pupil who had 16 bullets pumped into her body near a watchtower which was under the command of the Israeli soldier.

After Imam's death, a tape recording was made available of a three way conversation between the soldier, the watchtower and the operations room, in which it is clear that the captain was made aware that his victim was a young child.

After firing bullets into Imam's body, the soldier is heard to say: "This is commander. Anything that's mobile, that moves in the zone, even if it's a three-year-old, needs to be killed. Over." Soldiers who were on duty at the time later contacted an Israeli newspaper and accused the army of covering up the circumstances of the killing.

After the verdict was read out on Tuesday, Capatain 'R' told reporters "I'm happy and satisfied that the truth has come to light,", going on to say that " "I hope the army will understand its failure, the failure was not on my part."

Despite the fact that members of the Al Hams family had low expectations of the outcome of the court case, they were shocked by the ruling. Her father Samir later spoke to reporters saying: "They did not charge him with Iman's murder, only with small offences, and now they say he is innocent of those even though he shot my daughter so many times," he said. "This was the cold-blooded murder of a girl. The soldier murdered her once and the court has murdered her again. What is the message? They are telling their soldiers to kill Palestinian children."

Iman is one of many schoolchildren who have lost their lives to the Israeli Occupation forces. A blogger described some of the deaths of twelve year olds in the conflict in a post which was written around the time of Imam's death.

It is extremely rare for an Israeli soldier to be punished for the death of a Palestinian.