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From the field

Border Police beat and abuse A.L., in the area of Umm el-Fahm, April 2004

A.L., aged 28

I think the incident took place on Monday, 5 April 2004. I was in Umm el-Fahm, on my way to work for somebody who lives in the city. Around 9:00 A.M., I was outside the shop of the man for whom I was working, which is located in the al-Midan area. He gave me the keys to his house, and I waited for him to lock the shop so that we could go to his house. While waiting, a jeep with three border policemen inside came and stopped alongside me, and the policeman sitting next to the driver called out to me in Hebrew. I went over to him, and he demanded my identity card. I gave it to him, and he asked me where I was from. I told him that I was from '‘Anin. At that moment, the man at whose house I was working appeared and told the policemen that I had his keys. The policemen ordered me to give him the keys and to get into the jeep.

I got into the back of the jeep and sat behind the driver, facing another policeman. The policeman ordered me to sit and bend over. When the jeep started on its way, the policeman kicked me and hit me, sometimes with a newspaper and sometimes with a club. He aimed his rifle at me a few times to frighten me. As we were passing the village Masharfeh, which is on the way to the Megiddo-Sallem intersection, the policeman picked up a newspaper. The coverage had a picture of a young woman who was half naked. The policeman said to me, '“Kiss.'” I asked, '“Kiss what?'” He put the newspaper in front of my face and said, '“Kiss [her]. She is from Jenin.'” When I refused, he kicked me and shouted at me.

After going a bit further, the jeep went onto a dirt road in the woods near Megiddo . I was frightened and asked them where they were taking me. The policeman who was driving told me that they were taking me to Megiddo Prison. I told them that I had never been arrested or imprisoned. The three of them shouted at me to shut up. The policeman sitting in the back pushed my head down and pressed it against the floor. The jeep stopped next to a puddle of water. The policemen got out and I remained inside. About five minutes later, I saw the policeman who had been sitting next to the driver touch his groin. I thought that he wanted to sexually assault me because along the way, he had said to me, '“I want to fuck you.'” We were in some isolated place and I was scared about what the policemen would do to me. Then, one of the policemen came over to me with a piece of cloth and covered my eyes with it. After that, he grabbed my right hand and took me out of the jeep. He kicked me, stood me alongside the jeep, and ordered me to put my hands high on the jeep and spread my legs. He searched me and took my cellular phone. When he searched me, I imagined that the policemen were going to sexually assault me.

I felt one of the policemen opening the buttons of my pants. I took off my blindfold and began to cry. He put the blindfold back on me. I continued to cry and tried to take the blindfold off again. Finally, I tore the blindfold and the three policemen told me to calm down. One of them said to me, '“You're a good guy, and we want to take you to '‘Anin. Shut up.'” I continued to cry, and one of them said, '“Enough. Shut up. We are taking you to '‘Anin.'”

I looked for my wallet and couldn't find it at first. Then I saw it on the ground, under the jeep. I took it and immediately put it into my pocket without opening it. Later, I got into the jeep. We started moving. The policeman told me not to cry, and to wipe away my tears "so that no one will see that you are crying". I stopped crying and wiped away the tears. One of them told me: '“You are a good guy, and we want to take you to your village.'” When we were about two hundred meters from the Sallem checkpoint, the policeman gave me back my cellular phone. At the checkpoint, one of the policemen gave me back my ID card, aimed his rifle at me, and said: '“Start running, or I'll shoot you.'”

I ran until they couldn't see me. I stopped a passing taxi so that he could drive me home. When I took out my wallet to get my money, I found that 300 shekels were missing. I got out of the taxi and went back to the Sallem checkpoint to ask the policemen [about the money], but the jeep wasn't there. I walked to the entrance of Ti'innik, which lies about three kilometers from the checkpoint. From there, I took a taxi to '‘Anin. I did not pay for the trip.

A.L., 28, married, is a laborer and a resident of '‘Anin, Jenin District. His testimony was given to '‘Atef Abu a-Rob at the his home on 30 May 2004