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Hebron: Border Police officers beat 'Alaa Sanukrut, December 2002

'Alaa Sanukrut, age 20, resident of the a-Rama area in area H1 in Hebron.

My family and I live in a-Rama, which is in the H1 area of Hebron. I work at a stone factory, which belongs to my family. The factory is located on the main road of the industrial area, in area H2 in Hebron, at a distance of about a kilometer from the Tomb of the Patriarchs.

On Monday afternoon, 30 December, 2002, I was standing in the area of the stone factory with my brother Bassem, aged 25, Shaher al-Bakri (Abu Shadi), aged 40, and some neighbors. There was traffic on the road and the area was not under curfew. At around 2:00 P.M., I saw a border police jeep traveling slowly along the road. When the jeep was about fifty meters away from us, it stopped. The border police officers were looking around and it seemed like they were looking for someone. After they spotted us the jeep came quickly toward us and stopped. My brother, Bassem, and I got into our car, a Suzuki, and were about to go home. One of the officers called to my brother, demanding that he leave the car and hand over his ID. Bassem grabbed his ID and approached the officer, who was sitting in the back of the jeep. The rear door of the jeep was open. The officer looked at my brother's ID and ordered him to return to the car. He then told me to come to him. I got out of the car and handed him my ID. He talked to me in Arabic and demanded that I get into the jeep. I got in and the jeep went off to the south.

The officers began talking to me in Hebrew. I don't know Hebrew and couldn't understand what they were saying to me. The officer who was sitting in the front next to the driver had a black video camera. He pointed the camera at me as the officers were talking to me. When the officers kept on talking to me in Hebrew, I told them I didn't understand and asked them in Arabic where they were taking me. The officer that was sitting next to me hit me in the mouth with his elbow and ordered me, in broken Arabic, not to make a sound. I did as he said. As we were riding, the same officer kept beating his club against the floor of the jeep, as though he were threatening me. I was really scared. My fear increased when, after about a kilometer and a half, the jeep turned left onto a rough road. The jeep kept travelling along this road for about another fifty meters until it came to an isolated courtyard, both sides of which were fenced off. There was a large water tank in the courtyard. The officers rode around the courtyard, probably checking out the area. They then parked the jeep between the two fences, so that no one standing outside could see into the yard. When the jeep stopped, the officer inside kicked me out onto the ground, while the officer with the camera kept on filming. When I was out of the jeep, I found myself completely surrounded by the fences, the water tank and the jeep.

I was really scared because there were no people in the area. One of the officers told me to get up and face the wall. After a while, he told me to turn around. When I turned around I saw two officers facing me and the officer with the camera on the right, still filming. The officer with the club was holding it in one hand, and tapping it on the other. Another officer searched me and asked me where my wallet, money, and cell phone were. I told him I didn't have anything on me. He asked, suprised, why I didn't have any money. I told him there was no work because of the closure. Suddenly, the officer who was standing to the left, with the club, raised it toward my face . I managed to cover my face with my left hand. I got hit on the arm and felt a sharp pain. The officer who was standing to my right hit me on the right shoulder with the butt of his rifle. I took a blow to the thigh from the club and another blow with the rifle butt. They kept beating me like this until the officer with the club hit me forcefully on the head and I fell to the ground. I started to scream at the top of my lungs. I was hurting very badly. I kept on shouting in the hope that somebody in the area would hear me and come to my rescue.

When I fell to the ground, one of the officers kicked me in the torso. The officer with the club hit me several times, until blood started flowing from my head and covered my face. From outside the courtyard, I could hear people shouting: '“Oh God!, Oh God!'” When the officer with the club saw the blood and heard the screaming, he jumped inside the jeep. The officer who had hit me with the butt of his rifle and the officer who had been filming the beating ran after him and got into the jeep. The officer must have remembered that he had thrown the club on the ground, because he jumped out of the jeep, picked up the club, got back inside and the jeep left.

A lot of people gathered outside the courtyard, after the jeep left. Some of them carried me to the main road and waited for a car to pass by. I saw the jeep coming back and stopping in the middle of the road at a distance of about thirty meters from us. The people took me to a nearby alley and got me into one of the houses. I stayed there for about an hour and a half and only after the jeep left the scene did they take me outside and into one of the neighbors' cars. They took me to the Muhammad 'Ali al-Muhtaseb hospital.

The doctors at the hospital told me I had a crack in my skull and that they couldn't do anything for me except dress the wound. They told me to go to the 'Alia hospital for further treatment. After about half an hour, my brother, Bassem arrived at the hospital and took me to the 'Alia hospital. Once there, they gave me seven stiches, and took x-rays. The doctors told me to remain at the hospital for further observation, but I preferred to be treated at home and at around 4:00 P.M,. I returned home.

Description of the border police officers:

1. The officer that was sitting next to me, behind the driver, was about 165-170 cm tall, slim, fair-skinned, and had an elongated face. He was wearing a helmet.
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2. The officer that was sitting in front of me was a little taller than the first one, fair-skinned, and plump.
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3. The officer who was filming was of average height, medium build, and was fair-skinned.
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4. The fourth officer stayed in the jeep the entire time and I don't remember what he looked like.

'Alaa 'Abd-al Fatah Sanukrut, is 20 years old. He works in a stone factory (owned by his family) and is a resident of the a-Rama area, in area H1 in Hebron. The testimony was taken by Musa Abu Hashhash at the witness' home, on 2 January, 2003.