Affidavit No. 4099/2008

Sworn Statement

After having been warned to tell the truth and nothing but the truth or else I shall be subjected to penal action, I, the undersigned, Muhannad ‘Uthman al-‘Azza, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 914849252, born on 12 September 1981, a student at al-Quds University – Abu-Dis and a resident of al-‘Azza Camp, Bethlehem Governorate, would like to declare the following:

I am a resident of al-‘Azza Camp located in Bethlehem Governorate and I am a student at al-Quds University in Abu-Dis. On 25 or 26 February 2008 at approximately 2:00 pm, I was coming home to Bethlehem from the University in a public taxi. When the taxi arrived at the checkpoint, a border guard soldier approached us and asked for the identity cards of all the passengers. We gave him the cards and the taxi stopped and waited at the checkpoint. After 15 minutes, that soldier called me by name and asked me to follow him. He had brown skin and a light beard. He was around 180 centimetres tall, wearing the border guard uniform, carrying a long M 16 weapon and a folded hat on his shoulder. In poor Arabic he asked for my name. He then told me to go to a square located among cement blocks in which Palestinian citizens are regularly held when they are at the checkpoint. That square was not visible to people passing by the checkpoint.

After entering a room used for verifying identity cards at the checkpoint, the soldier approached me and asked why I was standing there and started to beat me. First he pushed me with his hands, then he kicked me with his foot and hit me with his fist on my chest and abdomen. He then told me to lift my hands and open my legs and started inspecting me. He took my keys and wallet and asked me about my mobile phone. I told him that I do not have a mobile phone. He cuffed my hands to my back with plastic cuffs and threw me inside a very small cell located beside the square at the ‘Container’ checkpoint near Bethlehem.

The soldier closed the door of the cell and through a small window in its door, said “If you talk to anybody, I will fuck you.” I told him that there was nobody around to talk to. He started to yell at me, and in a threatening tone asked me for a mobile phone or land line number. I told him that I do not have any. Then he left, leaving me behind in the cell. After around two hours the soldier came back, opened the cell and called another soldier who came and untied my hands. After a few moments, the same soldier who had captured me in the cell gave me my identity card and ordered me to go home. I went home without knowing the reason for being detained.

It is worth noting that this happened with me five times during one week in February 2008. Every time, the soldiers checked my identity card and detained me for more than two hours without any reason. But this last time was different because I was subjected to beating by the soldier for five minutes. I would like to mention that I was an Israeli prisoner for two and a half years and I was released in July 2007. I think that this might be the reason for being subjected to such treatment at the Container checkpoint.


Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 4099/2008
  • Field researcher: Ziad Hmeidan
  • Affidavit Date: 5 March 2008
  • Name: Muhannad ‘Uthman al-‘Azza
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