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Testimony: Police severely beat Malak Abu Gharbiya on Tel Aviv beach, June 2009

Update: On 12 August 2010 the MAG Corps informed B'Tselem that upon conclusion of the investigation, the case was closed for absence of guilt.

Hamzah Salah, laborer

Malek Abu Gharbiya

I live in Jerusalem and sometimes go with friends to the beach in Tel Aviv. On Friday evening, 12 June, I went to Tel Aviv with my friends Muaiad Sha'ban, 21, ‘Alaa Sharaf, 21, Wasfi Zahdeh, 20, ‘Issa a-Safdi and Ibrahim Abu Diab. I drove. We got to the parking lot next to the beach near Jaffa around 10:00 P.M. We got out of the car, put some music on and talked. A few minutes later, we saw some guys I know from Jerusalem fighting. We went and broke up the fight.

A few minutes after that, two blue police patrol cars, Skodas, pulled up. They stopped next to my car. Around eight uniformed police officers got out. One of them was a woman. The guys who had been fighting ran away. My friends and I stayed by the car. A police officer came over to me. He was of average height, was heavyset, and had thin hair and dark-brown skin. “Moshe” was written on his name tag. He told me to give him my identity card. Then he went to speak with another officer, and I gave my ID to an officer who was standing next to me. He was tall, pale-skinned, and had brown eyes. His hair was combed back.

A few seconds later, Moshe came over again and asked about my ID card. I told him I had given it to his friend. He shouted, in Hebrew, “Do you think I'm playing with you?” I told him I wasn't lying and that he should ask his friend. He kneed me in the stomach and punched me hard in the chest. I felt like I couldn't breathe. I fell onto the car and my head and back hit it. I told him, “Calm down and don't hit me. You [plural] have the ID.” I asked the other police officers to help me. A few of them tried to stand between me and Moshe, to get him to leave me alone. Moshe hit me hard on the head with a black club, and I started to bleed. I felt dazed. I tried to defend myself. In the meantime, other police officers beat me with clubs and kicked me. They were beating me from all directions. This lasted for less than a minute. I lay on the ground, with police officers around me. They kicked me all over my body, mostly in my head. It hurt a lot. My head was bleeding badly. Moshe kicked me in the face and said, “I warned you I'd screw you.”

Somebody cuffed me and did it so tight, it felt as if someone was chopping my hands off. Moshe grabbed me by the neck and I nearly choked. He picked me up, led me to the patrol car, sat me in the back seat and sat down next to me. Another policeman sat next to the driver. He swore and spit at me. Moshe punched me in the stomach.

We drove and after about ten minutes got to the Dizengoff police station. They put me into a room with benches. There was a Jewish guy under arrest there too. My head was bleeding and nobody treated me.

About an hour later, Moshe came into the room. He was holding a notebook. He told me to sign documents. I refused. He said they wouldn't let me leave the room until I signed. In the end, he removed the cuffs, which hurt a lot, and I signed. Then he took me into a room in which a police officer was sitting behind a table. The officer questioned me and accused me of assaulting police officers. Also in the room were Moshe and two other officers. One of them was called David.

I remained at the police station until about 2:00 A.M. Then a police officer came and took me to a car without windows, and we drove to a detention center in Herzliya. When we got there, the officer didn't agree to accept me because my head was bleeding. The officer put me back in the vehicle and took me to a medical clinic at a police-station. A man in a blue shirt and army-green pants, who had a pistol, tried to clean the wound, but I refused. He wrote a medical report and gave it to the police officer, who took me back to the vehicle and drove me to the detention center in Herzliya. By then it was about 5:30 A.M.

I remained there until last Saturday [20 June], when, late at night, they took me before a judge, who released me on bond. I paid 500 shekels and signed a 4,000-shekel bond. I was released around 1:30 A.M. on Sunday. My friends came to get me and took me home. I felt terrible.

My head, neck, face, and shoulder hurt a lot. A few hours after I was released, I went to Hadassah al-‘Esawiya Hospital.

On Monday, 22 June, I went to the Department for the Investigation of Police and filed a complaint.

Malek Mahmoud ‘Imran Abu Gharbiya, 20, is a merchant and a resident of a-Tur in East Jerusalem. His testimony was given to Kareem Jubran at the witness's home on 24 June 2009.