Thousands attend burial of hanged Palestinian

Israeli forensics team say death of bus driver in Jerusalem was suicide, but colleagues of man say they suspect murder.

    Thousands attend burial of hanged Palestinian
    The Palestinian government believes Ramuni was murdered despite an autopsy ruling out a criminal act [Getty Images]

    Thousands of Palestinians have attended the funeral of a bus driver who was found hanged in his vehicle, a death declared suicide by an Israeli forensics team, but believed to be a murder by his family and the Palestinian government.

    The incident happened late on Sunday, with a supervisor finding the body of 32-year-old Yusuf Hasan al-Ramuni at a bus depot in the industrial zone of Har Hotzvim in northeast Jerusalem, police said in a statement.

    Following an autopsy, Israeli police ruled it was not a criminal or nationalistic attack.

    Al Jazeera's Stefanie Dekker, reporting from occupied East Jerusalem, said: "There is a huge crowd here. Thousands have shown up for the funeral, but there are questions.

    "No one here believes the Israeli verdict that no foul play was involved."

    Speaking to Al Jazeera, Shireen Ramuni, the driver's wife, said her husband was killed. "He got on with everyone. He didn't differentiate between Palestinians and Jews. They killed him."

    The family's lawyer also told Al Jazeera that a Palestinian doctor, who attended the autopsy, said the father of two was strangled to death.

    The death of Ramouni may end a relative calm that followed months of violence in the Occupied Territories, as scores of Palestinians torched tyres overnight in Abu Dis.

    Tension has gripped Jerusalem since the kidnapping and murder of a Palestinian teenager during the summer.

    "People have been taking matters into their own hands, and revenge attacks have been happening since the summer," Dekker said.


    Muatasem Fakeh, a colleague of the bus driver, said he had seen evidence of violence on Ramuni's body, according to the AFP news agency.

    "He was hanged over the steps at the back of the bus in a place where it would be impossible to hang yourself alone," he added.

    The Palestinian foreign ministry said it held the Israeli government and its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, responsible for what it referred to as the "assassination" of Ramuni, urging the UN to form a neutral investigation committee. 

    In a statement issued on Monday, the ministry said that the provocation of Netanyahu and officials in his government are behind the spread of the hate, violence and racism culture in Israeli society against Palestinians. 

    The ministry also condemned the Israeli police's continued "attempts to hide the hideous crime" committed against Ramuni by claiming it was a suicide. 

    Osama al-Ramuni, the victim's brother, said the family did not accept the verdict of suicide, saying his body "had bruises on it," suggesting he had been "tortured" before his death.

    "My brother had children and was a happy man. It is impossible that he killed himself," said Osama.

    "He had no problems that would make him do it," he said, adding that a post-mortem would "reveal everything".

    "We reject the suicide theory. We all know it was settlers who killed him," he said.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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