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Azaria's family at the military court
B'Tselem cameramen: I didn't edit Hebron video
Imad Abu Shamsiyah testifies at Jaffa Military Court as trial of Elor Azaria, solidier who shot an already-neutralized terrorist resumes.

The trial of Elor Azaria, the soldier who fired at an already-neutralized terrorist in Hebron last March resumed Wednesday morning at Jaffa Military Court.

 

 

The court heard the testimonies of the Palestinian cameramen who documented the incident for left-wing NGO B'Tselem.

 

Among those giving testimony was Imad Abu Shamsiyah, who claimed that he did not edit the controversial video.

 

Further evidence will be heard from a police forensic expert of the police related to the reliability of B’Tselem videos.

 

Azaria’s defense team has casted doubts in recent months regarding the credibility of the controversial videos and wondered if they were "cooked up during editing". The opinion of an expert from the DIFS (Division of Identification and Forensic Science) consisting of dozens of pages will be revealed Wednesday in the military court, and the conclusion is that B’Tselem’s videos are authentic since they were forwarded to the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) Military Police the morning of the incident, with the original memory card of the camera that documented the incident.

 

B'Tselem cameraman Imad Abu Shamsiyah at Jaffa Military Court (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
B'Tselem cameraman Imad Abu Shamsiyah at Jaffa Military Court (Photo: Motti Kimchi)

 

With his full video being screened in the background, Abu Shamsiyah said, “I and my wife were at home that morning. I heard shots, I went out fast holding my camera. My wife was behind me. I got to the street and saw a guy on the floor in a black coat. I heard another voice and saw another man lying on the ground. I aimed my camera at him and started filming seconds after I heard the shots. I filmed the incident with this small Panasonic camera.” The whole while Azaria watched the video but his father Charlie did not.

 

Abu Shamsiyah added, "After I shot the video, I told a B'Tselem activist that I have an important video but that I was in Tel Rumeida – a closed military zone. I sent my little boy to her with the memory card. The CID called me to be interrogated and asked me to bring the original card. I told the interrogator that that was the original material and that I didn’t add anything. I didn’t change anything in the video. I'm not a cameraman and work with shoes. I volunteer for B’Tselem without salary for the image. My house is about 30 meters away from scene of the incident. I did not know such an incident would occur. "

 

Defense attorney Eyal Beserglick asked Abu Shamsiyah: "Is it true that your child Aouni, 17, was arrested by the accused and the deputy commander even before the incident?"

 

Abu Shamsiyah responded: "My son was arrested and I do not know by whom in the army exactly. I do not know what they accused him of. He returned home after his arrest. We live in Tel Rumeida so it is expected that each of us will be arrested. If they had something on my son, he would have been tried.”

 

Next to testify was Aref Jaber, a cameraman who filmed the handshake between right-wing activist Baruch Marzel and Azaria, after Azaria shot the terrorist. Jaber recounted that he went out to film after hearing about the incident on Palestinian radio. Defense lawyers also brought up B’Tselem’s claim which surfaced in recent days, that the first terrorist was also shot dead by soldiers although already neutralized. The IDF rejected this argument, saying that it contradicted the findings of the operational investigation.

 

Azeri's attorney, Ilan Katz, said, "We proved that the film was biased. They filmed whenever it suited them to, and this is proved by the fact that in their films one does not hear the cries about a suspected explosive device. It has been proven that the distances which are seen in the film are not the real distances.

 

 

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