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From the field

IDF soldiers beat Ahmad 'Abdallah and confiscate his car at Sarra Checkpoint, December 2003

Ahmad a-Sadda, victim, age 35, resident of Sarra, Nablus District.

Ahmad a-Sadda

Around 9:30 A.M. on Saturday [27 December], I was walking from my home in Sarra to the checkpoint at the entrance to the village, on the Nablus-Qalqiliya Road. I saw my friend, Mahmoud Lafi, driving his truck toward the checkpoint. I motioned for him to stop and pick me up. When we got to the checkpoint, Mahmoud got out of the truck and went over to the soldiers. He was holding his West Bank travel permit.

I wanted to go to the parking lot, which was on the other side of the checkpoint, about 200 meters away from us. Residents of Sarra park their cars there because the soldiers don't allow cars to drive in the direction of Nablus. So, we cross the checkpoint on foot, walk to the parking lot, and then drive to our destination. My car was in the parking lot, and I wanted to take it to Sarra because I had errands to run in the village.

There were three soldiers at the checkpoint, and a fourth soldier was in an observation post. Mahmoud asked the soldiers to let us pass. He returned to the truck and told me that the soldiers refused to let us cross. He turned on the engine and was about to return to Sarra. One of the soldiers, who was blond and short, yelled at me in Arabic, 'Come here.' I got out of the truck and went over to him. Mahmoud went back to the village. I stood about one meter from the soldier. He said in Hebrew, 'What do you want?' I pointed to my car and told him in Arabic, 'I want to go get my car and bring it to Sarra.'

The soldier replied: 'Give me your ID card and get your car.' I gave him my ID card and ran to the car. I was afraid that he would change his mind, so I moved fast and was back at the checkpoint within three minutes. I got out of the car and opened the hood so that the soldiers could make their search. I went over to the soldier to get my ID card. Two other soldiers were inside the tin hut at the checkpoint. The soldier ordered me to park the car off to the side and give him the keys. I asked him why he wanted the keys. He said that I had come off a dirt path [meaning he had gone around a checkpoint or roadblock]. I told him that was not true, that he let me cross, and that I crossed quickly. He said that I was lying, and hit me in the chest with the butt of his M-16 rifle. I raised my hand to fend off the blow.

The soldier went into the hut and brought out a helmet. He grabbed the strap and slammed me in the head with the helmet. That made me dizzy and I fell down, but did not lose consciousness. Then the two soldiers came out of the hut and jumped on me. They kicked me all over my body for two or three minutes. I got up, and then the soldier who hit me with the helmet gave me back my ID card and said, 'Go away, and leave your car here.'

I went back home without the car. I reached home around 11:00 A.M. The next day, at around 1:00 P.M., the soldiers at the checkpoint stopped Mahmoud, asked him about me, and told him to take my car to me. He left his truck at the checkpoint, drove my car to my house, and then went back to the checkpoint to get his truck.

Ahmad 'Abdallah Muhammad a-Sadda, age 35, he is married with five children. HEe works as a construction worker and is a resident of Sarra, Nablus District. The testimony was taken by 'Abd al-Karim S'adi on 1 January 2004.