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Colleagues of the hanged Arab bus driver whose death continues to be referred to as murder despite autopsy finding of suicide. These are Arab drivers of Egged buses, claiming they suffer discrimination by Israelis.

In a turnaround that should surprise no one, the Palestinian Arab pathologist who attended the autopsy of an Arab bus driver found hanging inside his bus on Sunday evening, Nov. 16, has now declared the driver was more likely the victim of murder, and not a suicide. According to all present at the autopsy, the Arab pathologist agreed with the findings made while present at the examination of the body.

The Palestinian Authority’s Chief Pathologist Dr. Saber al-Aloul attended the autopsy and reportedly agreed with the official findings throughout the autopsy of Yousuf Hasan al-Ramouni.

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But later that same day the Arab pathologist told Arab media outlets that the autopsy did not suggest suicide but rather an “organized criminal murder.”

According to al-Aloul the autopsy showed postmortem lividity on the back, not on the lower extremities, indicating that the victim was not hanging for long. There was “no dislocation of the first vertebrae, which is usually found in cases of suicide by hanging,” he added.

Al-Aloul reported to Ma’an, a Palestinian Arab news outlet, that he has been summoned by the Israeli police to appear for questioning on Sunday, at 10:00 a.m. The pathologist, suggesting he would not attend, claimed the order was illegal

Dr. Saber al-Aloul was the family’s chosen pathologist who attended the autopsy of Yousuf Hasan al-Ramouni, the 32 year old bus driver whose death is at issue.

Al-Ramouni was found hanged in the bus he drives for the Egged bus company late on Sunday evening, Nov. 16. His superviser found him at the bus depot in Har Hotzvim, an industrial area in northern Jerusalem, at the start of his route,  according to Jerusalem police spokesperson Luba Samri.

Reports about the death conflicted almost immediately, with Israeli officials stating unequivocally that there was absolutely no evidence of foul play and no bruises on his body, while residents of the area and family members of the dead man insisted it was murder and not suicide, that bruises were found on the body, and that the man was happy and could not have committed suicide.

The Israeli authorities agreed to perform an autopsy in order to have a definitive ruling on the death, and an Arab pathologist, one chosen by the family, was invited to and did attend the autopsy.

“At this point there are no suspicions of foul play,” the Israeli police stated following the discovery of the body. “Regarding reports in the foreign press – there were no signs of violence on the body. Nevertheless, in coordination and cooperation with the family, the body will undergo an autopsy in the forensic report institute.”

The autopsy took place on Monday, Nov. 17.

The examination revealed no signs of foul play. In other words, there were no signs of violence, beyond the actual hanging, either to Ramouni’s neck or body.

“It is very hard to hang a conscious person against his will without leaving signs (of violence) other than those caused to the neck by the actual hanging,”said Dr. Chen Kugel, the director of the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute.

Kugel added that the Arab forensic examiner who too part in the autopsy of the bus driver agreed throughout the proceedings with the findings that there was no foul play.

“From a medical standpoint, this is a very easy case to analyze, and we analyze dozens of such cases every year,” Kugel said, according to Haaretz, following the autopsy.

“What’s different in this case is not a medical issue, but the fact that somebody threw a claim, with no factual basis, that has the potential to ignite the region.”

However, once the procedure was concluded, and Aloul had left the Institute, he stopped responding to Kugel’s phone calls.

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Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the JewishPress.com. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com
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