Coalition calls on congress to pass Shireen Act – Mondoweiss


More than 60 national organizations are calling on Congress to support legislation that would require the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the State Department to publicly report on the details around Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh’s death.

Signatories of the open letter include US Campaign for Palestinian Human Rights, Amnesty International USA, Reporters Without Borders, IfNotNow, Defense of Children International – Palestine (DCIP), Oxfam America, Project, and Human Rights Watch.

The Justice for Shireen Act (H.R. 3477) was introduced by Rep. Andre Carson (IN-07) in May. It currently has nine cosponsors: Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Donald Beyer (D-VA), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Cori Bush (D-MO), Jim McGovern (D-MA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Eleanor Holmes [D-DC), Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA).

“We call upon Congress to pass Representative Carson’s Justice for Shireen Act to require necessary reporting into Shireen Abu Akleh’s killing and urge Congress and the Biden administration to take immediate steps to ensure that U.S. military funding to the Israeli government does not support human rights abuses against Palestinians,” reads the letter.

“The United States has a moral and legal obligation to ensure that its military funding is not used to support actions that violate international humanitarian or human rights law. Thank you for your consideration of this important matter,” it continues. We look forward to working with you to bring about justice for Shireen Abu Akleh.”

Shireen Abu Akleh, a TV correspondent at Al Jazeera Arabic, was shot dead by Israeli forces while covering a raid in the illegally-occupied West Bank on May 11, 2022. Israel first blamed her death on “dueling gunfire” between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians, but this was immediately disproven by video footage, eyewitness testimony, and media investigations

Israel launched an investigation into the incident, eventually admitting there was a “high possibility” that she was killed by the IDF. However, their report asserts that Abu Akleh’s death was an accident and that no one will face criminal charges over it.

In May 2022 the State Department informed the Israeli government that the FBI had opened a probe into the killing, but Israeli leaders have made it clear they will not cooperate with the investigation.

The coalition letter mentions that, despite just nine congress members backing Carson’s bill so far, over 100 members of Congress have signed statements or letters calling for justice in the case.

“We are urging our colleagues to see this as a free press issue,” Carson told reporters at a press conference on his bill in June. “To put aside Israeli and Palestinian politics and to see this for what it is: an attack on independent reporting. We’re going to keep circulating it to our dear colleagues until we get 218 original cosponsors for this bill.”

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