July 27, 2022

Van Hollen Statement Following Meeting with Family of American Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh


Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) released the following statement after his meeting with Anton Abu Akleh, the brother of American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh who was recently shot and killed while reporting on an Israeli military operation in the West Bank city of Jenin:

“Standing up for the freedom of the press and the rights of American citizens cannot be a priority only when it’s convenient. The United States must defend these values and hold both our friends and foes accountable in protecting them. That’s why we must pursue a full, independent, and transparent investigation into the shooting death of Shireen Abu Akleh. As President Biden and Secretary Blinken have respectively expressed, we need a ‘full and transparent accounting’ and an ‘independent, credible investigation.’ Summarizing prior investigations conducted by parties to the conflict does not represent the independent investigation that is necessary to ensure public confidence in the results. During my meeting today with the Abu Akleh family, I expressed my deepest sympathy for their loss – one that has also impacted the entire community of journalists who report from conflict areas. I once again emphasized the need for an independent investigation – and I committed to continuing to push the Biden Administration for answers. I fully expect a timely Administration response to the questions asked by myself and a number of my Senate colleagues, and I join others in requesting a classified briefing if necessary to provide more information. I will keep working to follow the facts wherever they lead. As I told Ms. Abu Akleh’s family, we cannot bring her back, but we must do everything in our power to get the truth and ensure there is accountability for her killing.” 

Senator Van Hollen has previously pressed the Administration to ensure the facts are brought to light surrounding the death of Shireen Abu Akleh, including leading a letter with 23 of his Senate colleagues pressing for direct U.S. involvement in an independent investigation into her death, and a follow-up letter with Senators Leahy, Murphy, and Durbin requesting detailed information into the United States Security Coordinator’s (USSC) recent review and other U.S. involvement in the case.

Pictured above: Senator Van Hollen (D-Md.) meets with Anton Abu Akleh, brother of Shireen Abu Akleh.