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From the field

Hebron: Border Police officers beat Hamza a-Rajabi, December 2002

Hamza a-Rajabi, age 22, resident of area H2, Hebron.

I live on the Tareq Ben Ziyad road in area H2, in Hebron. My house is about 300 meters away from the Tomb of the Patriarchs. Yesterday, Monday, 30 December, 2003, at around 6:30 P.M., I left my house to pray at the Tareq Ben Ziyad Mosque, which is on the same road, about a 100 meters to the south. The curfew was lifted that day. All the stores were open and there were people and cars on the streets. Further down the road, I saw a border police jeep. The officers were talking to a passer-by. I continued in the direction of the mosque and then, when I was about ten meters from the jeep, an officer got out and pointed his rifle at me. He told me to approach him. I showed him my ID and he talked on his communication device. He asked me where I was going and I told him that I was on my way to the mosque to pray. I overheard him talking to his colleagues in Hebrew. I didn't understand a word they were saying. A little later, he told me to get into the jeep and when I got in, he pushed me hard and told me to seat and keep my head down.

The jeep left, but I couldn't tell in which direction. After about five minutes, the jeep stopped and the four officers got me out and came out themselves. Then, I realized I was on al-Fakhs street, about a hundred meters from a gas station. One of the officers had a video camera. Another officer hit me with the barrel of his rifle on the right shoulder. The officer that was standing next to me asked if I was a member of the Islamic Jihad or the Hamas and I said I wasn't. He said: '“Then you're a collaborator.'” I said I wasn't. Two of them started beating me on the shins with long heavy clubs. I fell to the ground. I sat, bent my knees upwards, put my head down between my knees and covered it with my hands to protect it from the blows. The two officers hit me on my arms. I noticed a blinking light on the camera the third officer was holding. I think he was filming me. The beating went on for about ten minutes. I was on my knees on the ground from the pain. Then the officer holding the camera kicked me forcefully in my right side. Afterwards the officers got into the jeep and left.

Earlier, when the officer was checking my ID, he took out all the documents I was keeping in its case and threw them on the ground. There were 150 shekels among those papers. I couldn't find the money after the officers left. When they left I tried to get up, but was unable to. I tried to crawl and after about twenty minutes three youths came to me. They told me that they had seen a jeep leave, and thought that the officers might have beaten up somebody, so they came to see if everything was all right. They supported me and helped me to get to the Muhammad 'Ali al-Muhtaseb hospital, about 700 meters from the place everything had happened. At the hospital I was examined and transferred to the 'Alia hospital for further treatment.

Right now, I can't use my left leg and suffer from pains in my left shoulder and elbow. I can identify one of the officers that beat me. He was about 1.70 cm tall, and had a lean face. He was slim, fair-skinned, and wore a cloth cap.

Hamza Suleiman Yihya a-Rajabi, is 22 yaers old. He works as a laborer and is a resident of area H2, Hebron. The testimony was given to Musa Abu Hashhash, at the witnesses' home, on 31 December, 2003.