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From the field

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

Tamer 'Amru, automobile mechanic

Tamer 'Amru

I live in Sanjer, which is situated on the road between Hebron and Dura. In 2004, I was wounded in the waist by IDF gunfire, and I still suffer from pain in the area where I was hit.

On Friday, 3 March 2006, around 3:00 P.M., I went with three friends for a walk in the woods near my house, opposite the Beit Hagai settlement. With me were Sa'ed Yasser Shahin, 15, Safwat Fuad al-Khatib, 15, and Muhammad Maher 'Abido, 17. My brother 'Amer, 15, was with us at first, but he left after a few minutes. We smoked nargila and enjoyed ourselves. We were about one kilometer from Route 60, and more than two kilometers from the settlement. After a while, Sa'ed started to go home. Suddenly, three soldiers appeared a few meters away from us. One of them was tall and thin and had a dark-brown complexion. He spoke Arabic well. The other two soldiers were tall, blond, and thin. One of them had a moustache.

The soldiers called to Sa'ed and told him to come back. He returned and stood next to us. The soldiers aimed their rifles at us and ordered us to get up and not move. When we got up, they told us to turn around, and two of them searched us. The third soldier kept his rifle aimed at us. They told us to give them our ID cards. I gave them my card, and my friends said that they didn't have ID cards. The soldier with the dark-brown complexion took my ID card and put it into his pocket. The two blond soldiers bound my hands behind my back with plastic cuffs.

The three soldiers began to beat us. They punched and kicked us and hit us with the butt of their rifles, cursing us as they beat us. I didn't know why they were doing it. They beat us for more than fifteen minutes. Then they ordered us to go with them to the road. One of them grabbed me by the arm, and we walked in front. My friends walked behind me, and two other soldiers walked behind them. While walking, the soldier who was holding me kicked me and twice tripped me with his foot, and I fell to the ground. I also heard my friends shouting as a result of the blows.

After about fifteen minutes, we got to the road, and the soldiers sat us down on the shoulder of the road, kicking us and hitting us with their rifle butts. While we were sitting there, a Hammer jeep pulled up. It stopped on the road and the driver remained inside. The two blond soldiers continued to beat and kick us. The dark-brown-complexioned soldier who took my ID card called on the walkie-talkie to check the card.

Around 6:30 P.M., I heard people calling to us from the hills. I recognized my brother 'Amer's voice, and that of Tareq, Muhammad's brother. The soldiers also heard the shouts and the dark-brown-complexioned soldier told them to come to where we were. 'Amer and Tareq came over to us. With them were my brother Samer, 18, and Mazen Hamzeh Abu Qweider.

The soldiers sat them down next to us and kicked all of us. After about twenty minutes passed, the dark-brown-complexioned soldier told us to go away. We got up, and the soldier gave each of us another few blows before we left. I, too, got up to go, but the dark-brown-complexioned soldier told me to stay. They also kept Muhammad 'Abido, whom I saw pick up a tire from the ground, put it on his neck, and walk toward the hill. The dark-brown-complexioned soldier came over to me, holding my ID card. He asked me if I had been wounded in the past. I was very frightened, and told him that I hadn't been wounded. He replied that I was lying, and slapped me. He picked up my shirt and saw the scar left by the gunshot wound. He punched me a couple of times on the scar, and I screamed. The cuffs were tight and hurt my hands. While he was beating me, he asked, "Were you wounded?" At the end, I told him I had been wounded in the past, and he kicked the scar hard. I thought I was going to faint from the pain. He did not let me be, and continued to punch and slap me for more than twenty minutes. I was in bad shape, and was screaming and crying. Finally, the soldier cut the handcuffs, gave me back my ID card, and ordered me to leave.

I barely walked fifty meters before I fell. My friends, who waited for me, ran over to me and helped me get up. We told Mazen and Safwat to go home and bring a car. In the meantime, my friends helped me walk another 300 meters, before we sat down to rest. A few minutes later, three cars pulled up. I went in one of them to ' Aliyah Hospital , in Hebron . I was admitted and spent the night and almost the entire following day in the hospital.

Tamer Yusef Muhammad 'Amru, 18, is an automobile mechanic and a resident of Sanjer, Hebron District. His testimony was given to Musa Abu Hashhash at the witness's place of employment on 12 March 2006.