Palestinian coroner ‘agreed Arab bus driver hanged himself’

In incendiary case of dead Egged driver, Israel’s forensic institute director says Palestinian colleague now not answering his calls

Yusuf Hassan al-Ramouni, the Egged bus driver found dead on November 16, 2014 (photo credit: Facebook)
Yusuf Hassan al-Ramouni, the Egged bus driver found dead on November 16, 2014 (photo credit: Facebook)

The Palestinian forensic examiner who took part in the autopsy of a Palestinian bus driver, who was found hanged Sunday night, agreed with the initial findings that the death was a suicide, according to the director of the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute.

Police and officials from the institute announced on Monday that the examination had found no signs of foul play. Director Dr. Chen Kugel explained that, in the absence of signs of violence to the neck or body, it was highly unlikely that Yusuf Hassan al-Ramouni, 32, could have been murdered.

“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,” Kugel said.

He added that Palestinian examiner Dr. Saber al-Alul concurred throughout the process. Al-Alul was now not answering his calls, Kugel added, in an Army Radio interview Wednesday morning.

“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. “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.”

Kugel did qualify, however, that he wouldn’t be able to issue a definite conclusion for approximately two weeks, after body fluid samples had been checked for the presence of foreign substances, such as drugs or poison.

Officials presented the findings to Ramouni’s family on Monday, according to Israel Radio; the institute informed them that Ramouni had not been murdered and that no signs of violence were found on his body.

Ramouni’s family rejected the autopsy conclusions, and maintained that the report indicated that there were bruises on his body.

Claims that Ramouni had been murdered by Jewish extremists spread widely in Palestinian society, and were played up in Palestinian media outlets, sparking riots and strikes.

On Tuesday, both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch linked the terror attack at Jerusalem’s Har Nof synagogue, in which five Israelis were killed, with incitement stemming from Ramouni’s death.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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