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IDF soldiers beat Nazmi a-Sheikh at Sarra Checkpoint, December 2003

Nazmi a-Sheikh, victim, age 43, resident of Saniria, Qalqiliya District

Muhammad Nasser

Last Saturday afternoon [27 December], my wife went into labor. Around 5:00 P.M., we left home to head to the hospital in Nablus. Around 6:45, we reached the hospital. The physicians decided that she needed to deliver by Caesarean section because the umbilical cord was wound around the fetus' neck. My wife underwent the operation and gave birth to a beautiful girl. Now we have five daughters and nine sons. I spent that night with my wife in the hospital.

The next day, I left the hospital and went home to get money to pay the hospital for the operation. Around 10:30 A.M., I reached my house, and at about noon I started on my way back to the hospital. I got to the Sarra checkpoint around 1:00 P.M. I saw two soldiers at the checkpoint and another soldier standing around fifteen meters from them. One of the two soldiers was about 1.75 meters tall, light-skinned, thin, and had light-colored eyes and blond hair. I couldn't see the color of the hair of the second soldier because he was wearing a helmet.

When I was about fifteen meters from the checkpoint, the first soldier called out to me in Hebrew, "Come here." I told him in Hebrew that I was going to Nablus. I speak Hebrew very well. I told him that my wife had given birth, and that I was going to pay the hospital bill. "You can pass," he told me in Hebrew, and motioned me to cross. I walked around ten meters, and then the soldier shouted at me, "Where are you going, you bastard? Somebody told you to cross?" I responded, "You told me to cross." "I told you?", he responded. I said, "If you hadn't said that I could pass, I wouldn't have crossed." The soldier then said, "Go back, go back. You are lying to me," and fired a shot at me. The bullet hit the ground between my feet. That really shook me up. I thought they were going to kill me, or, at the least, that I was going to suffer before leaving the checkpoint.

I went over to the soldiers and they walked toward me. When we stood there facing each other, the soldier with the helmet hit me in the chest with his rifle. The blond soldier kicked me in the right leg and knocked me down to the ground. The two kicked me all over my body, saying, "You must die, you must die." I tried to cover myself with my hands for protection. The soldiers moved my hands and continued to kick me. The blond soldier put his rifle on the left side of my chest, above my heart, and pressed down. I pushed the rifle away, because I was sure that he was going to kill me. The soldier shouted at me, "You are forbidden to touch the weapon." I said, "I am not touching the weapon; get it away from me." He put his foot on my neck and pushed down. I felt as if I was suffocating and thought I was going to die. I tried to move his foot off my neck, but couldn't because the other soldier was still kicking me in the midsection. The blond soldier pressed down on my neck for about five minutes. Then he put the barrel of his rifle barrel to my head. They counted to three, and on three the soldier who was pressing his rifle to my head, picked up his feet and increased the pressure on my head. The other soldier continued to kick me in the midsection, and both of them continued to scream, "You must die."

I thought they wanted to kill me, or at least make me disabled. The third soldier stood where he was and did nothing. In the midst of the beating, about fifteen minutes after it all started, an armored personnel carrier with three soldiers arrived at the checkpoint. The vehicle stopped about four meters from me. I saw the driver smile when he saw me getting beaten.

Around 1:30, half an hour after I arrived at the checkpoint, the blond soldier said to me, "Now, get up and get out of here fast. If you don't run, I'll shoot you." I had trouble getting up, and when I did, I was unsteady. I walked about thirty meters. I was dizzy and had to sit down. I sat down twice. I continue walking and saw B'Tselem's jeep. I told the people in the jeep [B'Tselem's checkpoint monitoring team] what had happened. While talking with them, I couldn't stand up any more, and I collapsed.

The B'Tselem workers called for an ambulance. The ambulance came within fifteen minutes and took me to Rafidiya Hospital, in Nablus. The physicians examined me and determined that I have a broken left rib.

Nazmi a-Sheikh, age 43, is married with fourteen children and is a resident of Saniria, Qalqiliya District.
The testimony was taken by Salma a-Deb'i on 29 December 2003.