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Hebron: Border Police officers beat Bassem Ahamra, January 2003

Bassem Ahamra, victim, age 34, resident of area H2, Hebron

I live with my family in the a-Salayma neighborhood, about a hundred meters north of the Tomb of the Patriarchs. On Friday, January 3, around 11:30 A.M., I was on my way back home from the market. That day, there was an announcement that the curfew would be lifted until 14:00 P.M. I was with my neighbor, Rami al-Masri, and the two of us went toward the Tomb of the Patriarchs. At the end of the road, a border police officer stopped me next to the military checkpoint. There were two more officers at the checkpoint. The officer that had stopped me ordered me to take off my coat and take all the documents out of my pockets. I did as he said and then he demanded my ID and told me to go and stand next to the watchtower, on the right side of the road. He told me to face the tower and to put my left hand behind my back and my right hand up . Then the officer proceeded to spread my legs by kicking me. He searched me and hit me several times on my back with his hand and with the butt of his rifle, then he left me.

Some time later, one of the other two officers approached me and told me to alternate my hands and I did as he said. He searched me and hit me on my back. The officer stuck his hand in my pant pocket and pulled out a 20-centimeter-long, black, knife. I didn't have a knife. He said that he had found it in my pocket and that they were going to arrest me. I was shocked and I got scared. I told him that the knife wasn't mine and that they had planted it in my pocket. None of the officers listened to me and they told me to remain where I was. Every so often, one of the officers would come up to me and hit me on the back.

After about two hours, one of them gave me back my ID, and told me to leave the scene. I know the officers that stopped me, and I could identify them anytime.

Bassem Yihya 'Aaref Ahamra, age 34, is married and the father to four. He works as a laborer and resident of area H2, Hebron. The testimony was taken by Musa Abu Hashhash at the military checkpoint near the Tomb of the Patriarchs on 5 January , 2003.