Israel trying hard to present Palestinian’s ‘hanging’ as suicide – lawyer

Suspicions of Israeli involvement in the alleged suicide of a Palestinian bus driver continue to intensify, with the victim’s family lawyer telling RT that until independent forensics prove it to be a suicide, the death must be viewed as a homicide.

The family of 32-year-old Yousuf Hasan al-Ramouni who was found hanged inside his bus at the Har Hotzvim terminal near Jerusalem insists that the father of two was murdered by Jewish settlers. They also argue that the Israeli authorities deliberately “contributed to this confusion” of the circumstances of al-Ramouni death by publicly proclaiming it a suicide without proper investigation.

Following a post-mortem, Israeli police ruled it was not a criminal or nationalist attack and that there was “no suspicion of criminal activity.” Now, the family's lawyer, Muhammad Mahmoud is trying to fight the conclusion by the country's leading forensic lab, saying it is based on racial bias, and premature autopsy results.

Still from RT video

“They issued a ruling calling it a suicide. It is a medical document issued by the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute, issued by a Jewish doctor,” Mahmoud told RT, calling the pathologist report “not definitive.”

“However, the same conclusion indicates that the experts of the Institute are awaiting the results of tissue samples taken from the dead man. They will conduct a study of the tissues for the presence of drugs. Thus, it appears that the conclusion is not final. With regard to the preliminary report prepared by Dr. Al-Aloul, it says ‘until proven as an act of suicide, we are talking about criminal activity’.”

READ MORE:Palestinian bus driver found hanged in Jerusalem, sparks riots amid rumors of foul play

Palestinian pathologist, Dr. Saber al-Aloul, was present at the post-mortem conducted at Israel's central forensics lab. The controversy over al- Ramouni's death started after Ma'an reported earlier this week that the Palestinian coroner came to a different conclusion than his Israeli colleagues. On Thursday, Ma’an said Israeli police summoned al-Aloul to appear before authorities on Sunday for questioning.

However, Dr. Chen Koge, the director of the forensics lab, claims Dr. Al-Aloul initially concurred with the Israeli experts’ conclusion that the cause of death was suicide.

“Al-Aloul was present at the autopsy and he was asked his opinion and he agreed with the analysis of the findings,” said Kogel, according to Haaretz. “I can't understand what happened since. I'm stunned that such a different version of things was reported.”

“From a medical standpoint, this sort of case is very easy to analyze and we see dozens such cases each year,” Kogel told Haaretz. “What makes this case different isn't a medical issue but the fact that someone made a baseless claim about it that could seriously inflame things.”

Palestinian mourners attend the funeral of bus driver Yusuf Hasan al-Ramuni in the West Bank town of Abu Dis from Jerusalem on November 17, 2014. (Ahmad Gharabli)

But the victim's family lawyer told RT on Thursday the Palestinian coroner concerns has grounds to suspect that the death of al-Ramouni was not a suicide.

“[According to Al-Aloul] the first cervical vertebra of the deceased was not dislocated, as it happens in the case of suicide,” Mahmoud told RT Thursday. In addition, according to the lawyer, the doctor noted that signs of liver mortis or the settling of the blood after death – were found on the victim’s back rather than in the lower limbs, where they should have been in the case of a suicide.

“These factors rule out the suicide theory until proven otherwise,” Mahmoud stated.

One way or the other results of the tissue samples which might take up to two weeks should finally solve the controversy surrounding the death of the Palestinian bus driver.

For now, Mahmoud says al-Aloul never signed any documents that suggest he agrees with the Abu Kabir Institute’s conclusion – and the family lawyer believes the whole story is one big conspiracy on the part of Israel to cover up the murder.

“Israel’s version has been clear from the very beginning,” Mahmoud says. “Even before the autopsy, they claimed it was a suicide. They are trying hard to present this as suicide. They haven't even questioned anyone. They have not checked the security cameras from the bus.”