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Hebron: Border Police officers beat three Palestinians, December 2002

Ziyad Banat, age 15, resident of Jabel Johar, in area H2 in Hebron

My family and I live in Jabel Johar, in area H2 in Hebron. I work in a tile factory in the industrial area in area H2 in Hebron. On Wednesday, 18 December, 2002, at around 8:30 A.M., I left the house to buy some food for the family. As the area was under curfew, I went with my neighbor, Badi' Abu Hamdiya, age 23, in his car to look for an open grocery store in the industrial area. Badi' drove a Renault 9. Half way there, a man we didn't know, asked Badi' for a ride home. When we got close to the Shahin gas station, I saw a border police jeep in the middle of the road and four border police officers standing next to it. When we were about ten meters from the officers, one of them called out to us, and demanded to see our ID cards. We handed them to him.

When we got closer, three officers stood behind us and started throwing stones at me. They threw about seven large, heavy stones. They then told me and Badi' [Abu Hamdiya] to stand near an unfinished store across from the Shahin gas station. They told us to put our hands up. One of the officers approached me from behind and banged my head against the wall three times. My mouth was injured and began to bleed. After that, the officer hit me on the nose with the butt of his rifle. I fell to the ground, dizzy and bleeding from my nose. The four officers kicked me in the head. I tried to fend off the blows with my hands and then I got to my feet. Badi' [Abu Hamdiya] was still standing next to the fence with his hands in the air. When I was standing, the officers ordered me to put my hands up and face the wall. One of them hit me with a long and thick club. I took more than five blows to the back and shoulders. One of the officers went back a little distance then jumped me and kicked me in the back.

As the officers were beating us, they cursed us in Arabic and Hebrew. They took turns beating, so that at any one time one of the officers was beating me. This went on for more than half an hour, until eventually one of them called me over to him. I stayed put. The officers talked to me in Hebrew, which I don't understand. Another officer, who was holding a 30-centimeter-long knife approached me and punched me on the right side of the face. He lifted the knife in the direction of my right shoulder, but I managed to move it away, so that it cut my coat. I was afraid the officer would try to stab me again, so I ran away in the direction of the Shahin gas station. I jumped over a fence about a meter high, ran behind the gas station and hid there, in the Um a-Dalya area.

When I was about 200 meters from the place where everything happened, I used my cell phone to call my friend, Badi', but he didn't answer. When the border police jeep left the scene, I went back to the place where the officers had beaten me. Badi'[Abu Hamdiya] was there. He told me that the officers had beaten him as well. Badi' was exhausted and blood was coming out of his nose. His car had also been damaged. The windows, the tires and the seats were ruined.

I phoned up Badi's brother, '‘Abd al-Hakem, aged 30. He came in his car and took us to the Muhammad '‘Ali al-Muhtaseb hospital. The doctors gave us preliminary treatment and told us to go to the '‘Aalia hospital. '‘Abd al-Hakem took us to '‘Aalia hospital where we were x-rayed. The doctors determined that I had two cracked ribs a cracked nose. I had bruises on my back from the stones that had been thrown at me. I was released from the hospital the same day, but I have not been able to work since, because of pains in my back.

The following day, somebody brought back my ID. He told me that he had found it lying on the ground.

Descriptions of the officers:

1. Tall, slim, dark-skinned, black-haired. He has a black spot under the right eye. He was not wearing a helmet.
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2. Tall, slim, blond, hair cut short and combed upwards.
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3. Short, black-haired.
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4. Fair skinned, medium height, black-haired.

I think the first officer is a Bedouin. There are rumors that his brother was killed in Hebron in November. I could easily identify these border police officers. I also gave a testimony to the Employment Bureau and the Palestinian Prisoners' Organization.

Ziyad Sa'adi Muhammad Banat is 15 years old and works as a tile factory worker. He is a resident of Jabel Johar, in area H2 in Hebron. The testimony was taken by Musa Abu Hashhash in Jabel Johar on 6 January 2003.