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French court orders release of video of Palestinian boy's death Print E-mail

H a a r e t z
By The Associated Press
Last Update - September 22, 2007

 A French judge has ordered a television network to release unedited 7-year old footage of the shooting death of 12-year-old Mohammed al-Dura in the Gaza Strip for renewed investigations into the incident.

The order came after the Israel Defense Forces said earlier this week it had asked the France-2 network to turn over raw video of the Sept. 30, 2000 incident. Palestinians blamed Israeli troops for the death, which has become a symbol for Palestinians of excessive Israeli force.

A French appeals court launched new hearings Wednesday in a legal dispute between France-2 and a media observer who accuses  the network of staging the event.

The court ordered France-2 to turn over original footage of the incident to be aired in the courtroom, judicial officials said Friday. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The court will view the video Nov. 14, the officials said. No decision is expected in the appeal before February.

The disturbing images of Mohammed al-Dura's death were shown around the world. In the France-2 report, the boy and his father cower in front of a wall amid a furious exchange of fire between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants in Gaza.

The report shows the father gesturing to try to stop the shooting - then cuts to a shot of the motionless boy slumped in his father's lap. The report said the gunfire had come from nearby Israeli positions, though the circumstances remain in dispute.

The IDF initially said the gunfire apparently came from Israeli positions. But a military investigation subsequently determined he could have been hit by Palestinian bullets in an exchange of fire.

Philippe Karsenty, a self-described media watchdog, accused France-2 and its Israel correspondent, Charles Enderlin, of staging the shooting. Enderlin and the TV network filed a libel suit against Karsenty, and a Paris judge ruled in their favor last year.

Karsenty appealed, and the Paris appeals court took up the case this week.

France-2 and Karsenty could not immediately be reached for comment about the court order.

The IDF declined earlier this week to say why it was seeking the material from the French network.

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