Shireen Abu Akleh's brother urges justice in UK parliament meeting

Shireen Abu Akleh's brother urges justice in UK parliament meeting
Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh's brother Anton told UK parliamentarians that justice is 'the least' his sister deserves.
3 min read
12 May, 2023
Shireen Abu Akleh's brother Anton spoke at a meeting in the UK parliament via Zoom from Jerusalem

Shireen Abu Akleh's brother urged justice for his sister at a recent meeting in the UK parliament.

Shireen was a famed Al Jazeera reporter shot dead by an Israeli sniper a year ago on Thursday as she covered a raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. She was 51 years old when she died.

Speaking from Jerusalem via Zoom, her brother, Anton Abu Akleh, told lawmakers from both houses of the UK parliament that there had been no accountability for Shireen following her killing.

"She was clearly identified as a journalist. Justice is the least she deserves," he said.

Kim Leadbeater, the Labour MP who organised the event, raised the killing of her own sister Jo Cox, a lawmaker who was murdered by a far-right extremist in 2016.

"At least we saw swift justice when Jo was killed. To go through life not knowing who was responsible for your sister's death must be unbearable," the MP said.

Conservative Baroness Sayeeda Warsi said she and Shireen were born within days of each other.

"It's very easy to become immune to just another death or another bout of violence, but I believe her killing was a turning point," Warsi told the meeting.

"The current Israeli government is not representative of Israeli values or of UK values and policies. If we can't get movement now, when can we? I hope that out of this darkness some hope will come."

Representatives of groups including Medical Aid for Palestinians, the Council for Arab-British Understanding and Jewish and Christian organisations attended, according to a press release.

An illustration of Shireen Abu Akleh with a dripping red bullet wound to the head. The accompanying text reads: "Journalism is not a crime. Shireen Abu Akleh, 1971-2022."

The meeting discussed issues such as school demolitions and health care access.

It comes after Israeli forces demolished a Palestinian primary school near Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank on Sunday.

The move drew sharcriticism from the European Union, which had funded the project.

Leadbeater, the organiser of the meeting in parliament, earlier this month supported Anton's call for an independent investigation into Shireen's killing.

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Leadbeater put a question about the journalist's death to Conservative Foreign Secretary James Cleverly in parliament.

"It's almost a year since the killing of the Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the Jenin refugee camp," the Labour MP said.

"Will the foreign secretary join me in supporting her brother Anton's call for a thorough, independent investigation into her death and agree with me that this is now long overdue?"

Cleverly responded: "We always call for the swift and transparent investigation into any fatalities and that's very much at the heart of our policy."

He added that he would get more details and ensure he is back up to speed with the case.

Agencies contributed to this report.