Israeli authorities urged to release body of Bedouin activist

Israeli authorities urged to release body of Bedouin activist
Lawyers filed a petition on Friday to release the body of a Palestinian killed by Israeli forces earlier this week.
2 min read
20 January, 2017
The Palestinian was shot by Israeli forces on Wednesday [Getty]

The body of a Bedouin Arab killed during clashes in southern Israel could soon be returned to its family after a petition was launched by lawyers on Friday.

Yacoub Abu al-Qi'an, 50, died in alleged disputed circumstances on Wednesday when police raided the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran to demolish several homes.

An Israeli officer also died in what police described as an attack.

The Adalah NGO, along with a Palestinian Israeli parliamentarian, filed a petition with Israel's Supreme Court calling for his body to be released immediately without preconditions.

Family members had been asked to agree to a number of stipulations before returning the body, their lawyer said.

"They want to give the body back only at night, and also to have only a limited number of people at the funeral - 40-50 people only," Attorney Nadeem Shehadeh from the Adalah NGO told AFP.

They also demanded the funeral not take place in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran, where Qi'an came from, but in the nearby town of Hura, Shehadeh said.

But Israeli police refused to return the body until a full autopsy had been completed and failed to confirm whether they had placed conditions on the move.

Qi'an's death occurred in the early hours of Wednesday when police raided the village to destroy five homes.

Residents and activists said he was shot while driving a car which police say was used in an attempt to deliberately drive towards soldiers entering the town.

An aerial video provided by the police appeared to show him being shot before careering into the officers, killing 34-year-old Erez Levi.

Israel routinely places preconditions on returning the bodies of Palestinians it accuses of carrying out attacks, arguing the funerals can turn into glorifying violence.