Friday, December 15, 2017
   
Text Size

Site Search powered by Ajax

Met reopens cartoonist Naji al-Ali murder case

Fresh appeal made, 30 years after Naji Salim Hussain al-Ali's killing, for anyone with information to come forward.

Handala

British police have launched a fresh appeal for information on the murder of a famous Palestinian political cartoonist in London 30 years ago, hoping someone might feel more able to speak up three decades later.

Naji Salim Hussain al-Ali, who received a number of death threats for his cartoons satirising Arab and Israeli politics, was shot in west London on July 22, 1987.

He died in hospital just over one month later, aged 51.

Scotland Yard's Counter Terrorism Command (CTC) is appealing for information about the gunman and a second man later seen driving away from the scene.

"The brutal murder of Mr. Al-Ali devastated his family and 30 years on they continue to feel the loss," CTC commander Dean Haydon said.

"A lot can change in 30 years: allegiances shift and people who were not willing to speak at the time of the murder may now be prepared to come forward with crucial information."

Osama al-Ali, the cartoonist's son, described his father's sudden death as "traumatic".

Al-Ali's son said that people with influence may have withheld information crucial to finding out who was behind his father’s assassination.

"There were people active on the political scene at the time - who still are to a lesser extent - they have information which they did not share," he said.

Al-Ali's cartoons were often depicted from the perspective of Handala, a small refugee boy that always had his back turned as a symbol to the unrealised right of return for Palestinian refugees.

The cartoons were perceived as critical of the Palestine Liberation Organization leadership, as well as Israeli and Arab governments; they won him international acclaim but also resulted in a number of death threats made against him.

"My brush is my only weapon, I use it to stand against the vicious forces of evil in our world," al-Ali once said.

Motive for murder

The police said they were keeping an open mind about the motive for al-Ali's killing.

He was shot in the back of the neck in broad daylight while walking from his car to the Knightsbridge office of Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas, where he worked at the time.

Witnesses watched the suspected assailant follow al-Ali and later flee the scene on foot.

He was described as about 25 and of Middle Eastern appearance, with thick, collar-length black hair that was wavy at the back.

The black automatic handgun, a 7.62 Tokarev pistol, was found on open ground in London in 1989.

Test firings showed markings on the bullets that matched those on the cartridge case recovered from the murder scene.

A second man, described as being in his 50s and of Middle Eastern appearance, was seen running with his left hand inside the right side of his jacket as if he was concealing something, and getting into a silver-grey Mercedes car shortly afterwards.

The police believe the second suspect was hiding the weapon in his coat. 

Witnesses also reported seeing another man, in his 50s and also of Middle Eastern origin, running nearby shortly after the incident, with his left hand inside his jacket as if concealing something.

He then got into a silver-grey left-hand drive Mercedes and drove away.

Commander Dean Haydon, head of the Met's Counter Terrorism Command, which is reviewing the case, said the police have "followed a number of lines of inquiry which have not resulted in us identifying these two men".

"However, a lot can change in 30 years," he said.

"Allegiances shift and people who were not willing to speak at the time of the murder may now be prepared to come forward with crucial information."


blog comments powered by Disqus

Subscribe via RSS or Email:

May loses Brexit vote in parliament ahead of EU summit

Read More

Macron: World is losing battle against climate change

Read More

Ukraine authorities to appeal Saakashvili's release

Read More

EU shuns call to recognise Jerusalem as Israeli capital

Read More

Netanyahu seeks EU support on Jerusalem status

Read More

New drug offers hope for treating Huntington's disease

Read More

Global_News

Amnesty International calls on Saudi-led bloc to lift blockade of Qatar, which it says is harming thousands of families.

Read More

Donation

Thanks to all of our supporters for your generosity and your encouragement of an independent press!

Enter Amount:

Featured_Author

Login






Login reminder Forgot login?

Subscribe to MWC News Alert

Email Address

Subscribe in a reader Facebok page Twitter page

Week in Pictures

From snowfall to sunshine

Palestinians hold 'day of rage'