'Human Shield's' sister to proceed with talk

Sophie Hurndall to speak in Chiswick despite the death of her brother who was shot by an Israeli soldier


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The talk is presented by West London PSC (Palestinian Solidarity Campaign). For more details contact pscwl@btinternet.com or visit www.palestinecampaign.org

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Scheduled to speak at a viewing of ‘Human Shield – Dying for Palestine’ organised by West London Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Sophie Hurndall, sister of the peace activist Tom Hurndall, announced today that her brother died last night after spending nine months in a coma at Putney’s Royal Hospital for Neurodisability.

The film and talk, planned for next Tuesday 20th at Brentford & Isleworth Labour Party Rooms, 367 Chiswick High Rd W4 will include a screening of an Australian documentary not yet shown here about the work of the ISM (International Solidarity Movement) in Palestine. It was this pro-Palestinian peace group that Tom Hurndall was working with when he was shot.

Sophie Hurndall told BBC Radio that Tom had contracted pneumonia in the past few days. "It is definitely a sense of relief, but obviously there is great sadness, because it's a time when we have to finally accept that we're not going to have Tom back."

Tom Hurndall was just 22 when he was shot by an Israeli sniper whilst acting as a human shield in the town of Rafah, Gaza in April of last year.

The Israeli army arrested a soldier on New Year’s Eve for the shooting and charged him on Monday with grievous bodily harm in the case. The accused soldier initially claimed to have opened fire on a man armed with a pistol, but later changed his claim to “firing in proximity to an unarmed civilian as a deterrent".

The Hurndall family who say they are “committed to finding the truth and to obtaining justice” welcomed the arrest. According to Israeli sources, the charges are likely to be upgraded with the news of Hurndall’s death.

Back in November the Israeli government sent the Hurndall family a cheque for £8,370 that Mrs Hurndall maintained had bounced. A letter from London’s Israeli Ambassador asserted that the cheque was not an admission of liability but designed to help with the costs of flying Tom home.

January 14, 2004