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From the field

Border Police beat bus driver Fadel 'Alan at when he brought disabled children home to a-Sheikh Sa'ed, 23 May 2006

Fadel 'Alan, bus driver

Fadel 'Alan

For more than six years, I have been transporting school pupils. I pick up students from a-Sheikh Sa'ed and Jabel al-Mukaber and drive them to their schools. I also take disabled children from these two neighborhoods to the a-Nur school, in a-Tur. Until 2002, I could go into a-Sheikh Sa'ed and reach the homes of the three disabled children I need to pick up there, who are 11, 12, and 14 years old. Since Israel blocked the entrance to a-Sheikh Sa'ed, their parents have to bring them to the village entrance, and I pick them up there. Around 2:30 P.M., I return the children to the entrance, and their parents come and get them.

Yesterday [23 May], I returned the children to the entrance of the village. When I stopped to let them out, the parents weren't there. After a few minutes passed, the parents of two of the children arrived. When I stopped, three of the border policemen came over to me. One of them shouted to me, "get out of here" He was tall and thin and had a light complexion. I told him that I am waiting for the parents of the disabled children, who had to come and take them. He said that was not his concern and began to swear at me. He said, in Hebrew, "If you don't go from here, I'll screw you." I asked him why he was speaking that way, and he demanded to see my ID card. I gave it to him. Then he ordered me to turn off the engine and get out of the bus. Also in the bus was Ilham 'Abeidat, a thirty-year-old woman, who escorts the children for the school. When I got out, the policeman ordered me to sit next to the wall. He told me I was being detained. In the meantime, the mother of the third child arrived and took him. I called the office of the company I work for and they sent a car to take Ilham.

After about a half an hour passed, the policeman ordered me to move the bus to the other side of the road and to sit inside it. An hour and a half after they detained me, at around 4:00, I called the police department and told them what happened. The policewoman who spoke with me said that, according to law, a policeman does not have the right to detain me for more than twenty minutes. I went over to him and told him what the policewoman said. He replied, "I am the law here, and I'll release you when I want to." I went back to the bus. Ten minutes after that I went back to the policeman and told him that he had my ID card, and that I was going to the police to make a complaint against him.

I got onto the bus to turn on the engine and drive away, but he and another policeman followed me onto the bus and the two of them dragged me out. They threw me onto the ground and began to kick me and hit me with their rifle barrels. I saw the name-tag of the second policeman - Asaf Cohen, number 108854. The policemen beat me all over my body for about five minutes. Then they cuffed my hands behind my back with iron handcuffs and sat me down in the sun. A half an hour later they put me into their jeep and took me to the Oz Police Station, in Jabel al-Mukaber.

At the station, a policewoman in a blue uniform [of the regular police], questioned me and claimed that I humiliated the policemen, beat a policeman, and tried to flee. I explained what happened and asked her to release me so that I could get medical treatment. She told me to sign a bond for 10,000 shekels and other documents, and I signed them. I was also given a referral for a medical check. I went to the health fund clinic in Jabel al-Mukaber, where I underwent tests. Tomorrow, I am going to file a complaint at the Department for the Investigation of Police.

Fadel Muhammad 'Abdallah 'Alan, 30, married with one child, is a bus driver and a resident of Jabel al-Mukaber in East Jerusalem. His testimony was given to Kareem Jubran in a-Sheikh Sa'ed on 24 May 2006.