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Back Activities Alerts Alert: UK – Channel 4 broadcast of film 'The Shooting of Thomas Hurndall' available to view online

Alert: UK – Channel 4 broadcast of film 'The Shooting of Thomas Hurndall' available to view online

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IHRC invites you to watch 'The Shooting of Thomas Hurndall', “a moving feature-length drama about Tom Hurndall, a 21-year-old photography student fatally wounded by an Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) sniper”.

Islamic Human Rights Commission

16 October 2008

Alert: UK – Channel 4 broadcast of film 'The Shooting of Thomas Hurndall' available to view online

1. Summary
2. Background

1. Summary

IHRC invites you to watch 'The Shooting of Thomas Hurndall', a compelling fact-based drama surrounding the controversial shooting of the young British photojournalism student by the IDF, in addition to his family's mission to find out what really happened. The film, which broadcast on 13 October, can be viewed on Channel 4's 'Free Catch-up' until 13 November 2008, via the following link:

Also, for further information regarding the movie, family interviews and exclusive video, please visit the following link:

2. Background

Thomas Hurndall, a 21 year old British photojournalism student, was gunned down on 11 April 2003 by an IDF sniper, dying on 13 January 2004 after a subsequent 9 months of coma. Hurndall entered Gaza as an International Solidarity Movement (ISM) volunteer and was shot during the heroic act of carrying Palestinian children out of the line of sniper fire. The shooting occurred while Hurndall was adorned with a bright orange peace-activist vest.

In the film and following the shooting, the Hurndall family travels to Israel to be with their son and try to find out what really happened. However, they find themselves confronted with an unresponsive and insulting Israeli military. As his obituary in the Guardian newspaper reads:

“The initial IDF field report, which went to the British Embassy in Tel Aviv and to Tom's family, exonerated the soldier who had killed him. He claimed that Tom was in camouflage, and wielding a gun. In the face of a clutch of witness statements, such suggestions were withdrawn.“

The Hurndall family's pursuance of finding out what really happened in the case of their son's shooting eventually led to an unprecedented court win, in which the Bedouin soldier who shot Tom, decorated IDF sniper Sergeant Taysir Hayb, was found guilty of manslaughter, obstruction of justice, giving false testimony and inducing comrades in his unit to bear false witness, and was subsequently awarded an eight year sentence in a military court.

When asked about the film's depiction of Hayb, Tom's father, Anthony Hurndall, commented:

“It has always been our position that Taysir, while he did something wrong – he is a criminal; he shot somebody deliberately who he knew was not a gunman – but he was doing what was expected of him by the establishment. We've always felt that he was scapegoated. This was somebody who was himself a victim and I fully understand why his story needs to be told.”

Amongst the memorable quotes from the film was when the actress portraying Jocelyn Hurndall, Tom's mother, upon being asked what her message would be to the Israeli authorities, states, “Why were they firing at small children in the first place, and why did they shoot an unarmed man who was so clearly trying to see them to safety?... Please help us find out what happened to Tom”. Also moving was the remark of the character of Tom's father, who says:

“You know when I first heard the news, my first reaction was anger. And then I thought, gosh Tom, if you're gonna go, then I can't think of a better way for you to go than in an act of great compassion, and bravery, and humanity, and I couldn't be more bloody proud of you.”

It is hoped that such dramatisations will draw further and much needed attention to the ongoing humanitarian and human rights crises happening in Gaza and greater Occupied Palestine.


For more information, please contact the office on the numbers or email below.


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"And what reason have you that you should not fight in the way of Allah and of the weak among the men and the women and the children, (of) those who say: Our Lord! Cause us to go forth from this town, whose people are oppressors, and give us from Thee a guardian and give us from Thee a helper."
Holy Qur'an: Chapter 4, Verse 75

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Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
United Kingdom

Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222
Fax (+44) 20 8904 5183

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