LAW CONDEMNS RELEASE ON BAIL OF SETTLER ACCUSED OF MURDER OF PALESTINIAN BOY

July 1, 1997

LAW - The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment PO Box 20873 Jerusalem Tel: (972) (2) 5812364/5824559 Fax: (972) (2) 5811072 email: lawe@netvision.net.il

Yesterday, the Israeli District Court released on bail Nahum Korman, a settler accused of beating to death 11 year-old Hilme Shusha from the village of Husan near Bethlehem. The District Court released Korman on bail so he could witness the birth of his own son and on condition that he not enter the West Bank until the end of the legal proceedings.

Korman was the head of security at the Betar Elite settlement on 27 October 1996 when he allegedly murdered Shusha, who was walking home from school at the time. Korman chased Shusha and several other children after receiving a report of rock-throwing in the area. He denied beating Shusha to death. Korman's account contradicts the testimony of several eye-witnesses, who saw Korman beat Shusha on his head and body with the butt of his rifle. Shusha died from a blunt trauma to the side of the neck, which caused fatal internal bleeding in his head.

Shusha's murder created an outrage in Palestine and Israel and lead to the US Consulate General and prominent Israeli rabbis to visit Shusha's mourning family to express their condolences.

LAW protests strongly the double standard applied by the Israeli courts to alleged Israeli and Palestinian perpetrators. While an accused murderer of a young boy is released on bail, dozens of Palestinians accused of lesser offenses such as rock-throwing and membership in illegal organizations remain imprisoned until the end of drawn-out legal proceedings. Moreover, while the Israeli district court allows an accused murderer to roam free, the same Israeli court system sanctions the long-term imprisonment of 250 Palestinian administrative detainees who have not been accused of any offense at all.

The release on bail of accused murderer Nahum Korman reflects the inherent racism in the Israeli judicial system and how it cheapens the value of Palestinian life. Had Nahum Korman been a Palestinian man accused of murdering in cold blood an eleven year old Jewish boy, the results certainly would have been different. _____________________________________________________ LAW - The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment is a non-governmental organization, dedicated to preserving human rights through legal advocacy. LAW is also an affiliate member of the Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights.