Update: On 5 September 2012 the Office of the Military Advocate for Operational Matters informed B'Tselem that it had instructed the MPIU to investigate the charges. In March 2014, the MAG Corps informed B'Tselem that the investigation of the case had not yet been completed.
On Tuesday night, 31 July, soldiers detained ‘Udai Abu Mariah, 19 years old, at the checkpoint at the entrance to the village of Beit Ummar in the Hebron district.
The soldiers told Abu Mariah that an inspection of his ID card revealed he was wanted for questioning. Then the soldiers cuffed his hands behind his back, blindfolded him and put him into a jeep. Inside the jeep, says Abu Mariah, the soldiers punched him, beat him with their guns, and slapped him. Abu Mariah’s beating continued at the nearby military base to which he was taken.
Abu Mariah was released late that night, back at the Beit Ummar checkpoint at the entrance to the village, without having been questioned. In the morning, he began suffering abdominal pain and vomiting. A physician at Al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron who examined him decided to refer him for further treatment at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem, where he underwent emergency surgery to close an intestinal perforation resulting from the beating. Abu Mariah was released from Hadassah after eight days’ hospitalization. B’Tselem contacted the military advocate general on his behalf, demanding that an investigation be opened into the case.
Description of the incident
On the evening of 31 July 2012, at approximately 10:30 PM, 19-year-old student ‘Udai Abu Mariah arrived at the military checkpoint at the entrance to the village of Beit Ummar. He was on his way home to the nearby village of Khirbet Beit Za’tah, after visiting the Beit Ummar mosque for the Tarawih prayer recited on breaking the Ramadan fast. The soldiers at the checkpoint ordered Abu Mariah to give them his ID card and checked his information over their radio device. A few minutes later, the soldiers notified Abu Mariah that he was wanted for questioning. They cuffed his hands behind his back, blindfolded him and put him into a jeep.
In his testimony to B’Tselem, Abu Mariah related what happened then:
“The soldiers pushed me forcibly into the jeep. One of them hit me on the head, saying: “Bye-bye you fag.” The soldiers sat me on a bench in the jeep and one of them fastened my seatbelt. Then he hit me with his rifle on the side of my abdomen and punched me in the same spot. A little while later we drove off. On the way, the soldiers slapped me, hit me and punched me on my head and body. After a short drive, about five or ten minutes later, the jeep stopped. The soldiers took me out of the jeep and brought me into a room in a military base.
In the room, one of the soldiers pushed me against the wall. I fell on the floor. A few soldiers who were in the room started beating me brutally. They kicked me, punched me and beat me with their rifles. I screamed from the pain and asked them to stop but that didn’t help. I couldn’t defend myself because my hands were cuffed behind my back and I was blindfolded. I felt helpless.
I screamed at the soldiers and told them I would make a complaint against them if they kept on assaulting me. At that point, one of the soldiers gave me a really hard blow to the abdomen. I didn’t know if it was a kick, a jab with a rifle or something else. After that I had trouble breathing and started to cough. The soldiers stopped beating me.”
At that point, the soldiers left Abu Mariah lying somewhere on the base, handcuffed and blindfolded. In his testimony he related that a few soldiers who passed by kicked him and some of them ridiculed him and cursed him. One of the soldiers threw sunflower seed shells in his face. Sometimes Abu Mariah screamed in pain. He stopped screaming after one of the soldiers grabbed his head, slammed it against the wall and told him to shut up.
Very late that night, soldiers took Abu Mariah and put him into a jeep. They took him out again at the same place where he had been detained a few hours earlier at the entrance to Beit Ummar, removed his blindfold and told him that he was being released. Abu Mariah, who had been detained for questioning, was never questioned.
In the morning, Abu Mariah began having abdominal pain and vomiting. Accompanied by his brother and mother, he went to the ‘Alia government hospital in Hebron. The doctors who examined him found that he had only external trauma and he was released, despite the pain. As the pain did not subside, that evening Abu Mariah went to Al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron. The doctor who examined him had trouble diagnosing his condition and referred him for further treatment at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem, where he was taken in a Red Crescent ambulance. The doctors at Hadassah found that Abu Mariah was suffering from an intestinal perforation and performed emergency surgery to repair it. Abu Mariah was released from Hadassah eight days later. On his release, the hospital demanded NIS 9,000 for his care.
B’Tselem contacted the military advocate general on behalf of Abu Mariah, demanding an investigation be opened into the case. On 5 September, the office of the military advocate for operational matters notified B’Tselem that it had instructed the military police to investigate the allegations.