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From the field

IDF soldiers beat 7 Palestinian youths, 5 of them minors, Hebron area, March 2006

Muhammad 'Abido, 17

Muhammad 'Abido

I live with my family in Sanjer, which is situated on the road between Hebron and Dura. I work at an car repair shop on a street near my house.

Last Friday [3 March 2006], around 3:00 P.M., I went with a few friends for a walk in the woods near my house. The woods look out over Route 60 and lie opposite the Beit Hagai settlement. With me were Sa'ed Tamer Yusef 'Amru, 17, Sa'ed Yasser Shahin, 15, and Safwat Fuad al-Khatib, 15. We took some light drinks and nargila and sat under the trees, at least one kilometer from Route 60 and two kilometers from the settlement.

After we sat there for about an hour, Sa'ed decided to go. He got up, and when he got about thirty meters from us, three soldiers appeared. One of them was thin, of moderate height, had a dark-brown complexion, and spoke Arabic well. The other two were blond, tall, and thin. One of them had a moustache. The three soldiers raised their rifles and aimed them at us. One of them ran after Sa'ed and brought him back to where we were. They ordered us to get up and turn around with our faces to the stone fence that was there, and not to move. One of them told us to give him our ID cards. Safwat, Sa'ed, and I said that we didn't have ID cards. Tamer gave his card to them. The two soldiers searched us, the third soldier aiming his rifle at us. One of the blond soldiers bound Tamer's hands behind his back.

When the soldiers finished the search, they jumped on us and began to beat us. They kicked me and hit me all over my body with their rifle butts. After beating us for about fifteen minutes, they ordered us to walk toward Route 60. One of the soldiers grabbed Tamer's hands and marched him in front of us, and the other two soldiers walked behind us. Tamer fell down twice and got up. While we walked, the two soldiers behind us hit us in the back with their rifle butts. It took us about half an hour to get to the road. When we got there, the soldiers ordered us to sit on the shoulder of the road and put our hands behind our back. They kicked us. At first, I sat down on a boulder, but one of the soldiers hit me with his rifle butt and I fell over. I sat down on thorns. The soldiers stood alongside us. Every once in a while, they came over and kicked us. While we waited, the dark-brown-complexioned soldier used a walkie-talkie to check Tamer's ID card.

Around 6:30 P.M., I heard my brother Tareq, 15, and three other guys call out to us. We saw them on the slope leading to the road. The soldiers heard them, and the dark-brown-complexioned soldier told them to come to where we were. Tareq came with Tamer's two brothers - 'Amer, 15, and Samer, 18 - and with Mazen Hamzeh Abu Qweider. The soldiers left us and began to beat and kick them, which lasted for about fifteen minutes. Then the soldiers ordered them to sit down next to us.

After about half an hour passed, around 7:30, the soldiers ordered us to leave, except for Tamer. We got up, and before we began to walk away, the soldiers slapped and kicked each of us another time. When it was my turn, the blond soldier slapped me and told me to stay. There was an old tire on the ground next to me, and he told me to pick it up. I picked it up. Then he told me to put it around my neck. At first, I hesitated, and the two blond soldiers began to beat me with their rifle butts and to kick me, and demanded that I put it around my neck. I had no choice, and I did as they said. One of the soldiers told me to put my hands behind my back. I did that. The soldiers then hit me again. After that, they told me to go. One of them said I was forbidden to remove the tire from around my neck, and that he could see me.

I began to walk. After I got about 100 meters, I removed the tire and sat down to wait for Tamer. He arrived about ten minutes later, exhausted. I helped him walk until we met my brother and Tamer's two brothers. All of us helped him walk. We sat down to rest after going half a kilometer or so. Mazen and Safwat continued walking and came back with three cars. In one car, Tamer, Tareq, Safwat, and 'Amer went to the hospital. I returned home in another car.

Later, Tamer told me that, after I left the soldiers, they beat him severely. He has an old wound to his stomach, and he said that the soldier hit him on the spot of the wound. He also told me that he was kept in the hospital overnight.

Muhammad Maher Qassem 'Abido, 17, is a automobile mechanic and a resident of Sanjer, Hebron District

The testimony was given to Musa Abu Hashhash at the witness's place of employment on 6 March 2006.