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Affidavit No. 4089/2008

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, ‘Azzam Fathi Mousa Fahel, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 959250382, born on 25 September 1972, owner of a restaurant and a resident of Kobar village, Ramallah Governorate, would like to declare the following:

At around 5:00 am on Sunday 10 February 2008, as I was finishing my dawn prayer, I heard knocking on the door of my house, which is located in the village of Kobar, northwest
of the city of Ramallah. As I opened the door, I saw about two men, who presented themselves as members of the Palestinian General Intelligence. They handed me an official notice asking me to attend before the investigation officer at the General Intelligence Office in al-Irsal Street in Ramallah city. I took the notice from them.

In fact, I went on the same day to the Intelligence Office. I arrived there around 1:00 pm. As I entered the place, I met someone named Abu-‘Abdallah. He walked and talked in an arrogant manner. Putting a pen in his mouth, he said, “You are at our place and we will interrogate you, welcome!” I told him that I was ready, and he took me to an office located in the apartment’s veranda. As I entered the office and tried to sit on one of the seats in the interrogation office, Abu-‘Abdallah screamed at me, “What, where are you going?” I answered him, “I just want to sit,” but he refused to let me. So I said, “What are you scared of Abu-‘Abdallah?” “I heard that you have a tough head,” he replied, “tell me the details of your life ‘Azzam.” As I started telling him the story of my life, he interrupted me and said, “Tell me about your relationship to Hamas!” I told him that I am not a Hamas affiliate. So he listened to me and said, “Didn’t you participate in the electoral campaign of the Hamas movement in the Legislative Council’s elections?” “That is true,” I replied, “And these elections took place with your approval; all of you; you, the Jews, and the Americans and what I did does not breach the law.” The discussion continued until 3:00 pm, when they went on a lunch break and I was put in one of three cells.

The cell was small, not bigger than 1.5 metres x 2.0 metres. The lower half of the wall was painted and the upper half was covered with Chinese ceramic. I believe that it was the kitchen of the apartment. They were away for half an hour. When they came back, Abu-‘Abdallah was accompanied by a young man wearing the Palestinian military uniform. They took me out of the cell for interrogation, which continued until 7:00 pm when they brought me back to the same cell.

At around 10:00 pm, once again, they took me for a new round of interrogation, and once again, I met Abu-‘Abdallah. He tried to provoke me, telling me that I was offending them, and insulting their brothers. Then he claimed I had said that I would execute them ike Samih al-Madhoun. It was clear that he was trying to fabricate any accusation and trying to irritate me. At that time, which was 10:30 pm, he said to the officer who was accompanying him, “Officer! Handcuff ‘Azzam!” The officer indeed tied my hands behind my back with iron handcuffs. Then he cuffed my feet together with special cuffs for the feet, and attached them with a chain to the handcuffs, thus hanging me to the steel bars covering the window in the office’s hallway, my feet not touching the ground. This is called Shabeh. I argued with the interrogator about whether or not I had insulted them until someone arrived and presented himself as Abu-Adham, the director of 2 investigation. He was tall and broad, wearing glasses; he had black hair and black eyes. He told me: “You are lying!” Then the officer put several masks on my face and I felt beating all over my body. I recall the presence of three people wearing civilian clothes and one person wearing a military uniform in the room with me. The beating continued all over my body for about half an hour, predominantly on my head and back. Then they used a plastic hosepipe and their elbows to hit me all over my body. While they were beating me, the handcuffs slipped and I fell down. I heard Abu-Adham telling the people around him, “Get him to the room, and take off his socks!” So they indeed took off my socks and dragged me to the room, where they put my feet inside a chair’s hole [the space between the seat and the backrest of the chair]. The officer sat on my legs and they beat my feet with a plastic hosepipe of 16 millimetres. I estimate that my feet were beaten one hundred and fifty times. Then they assailed me by beating me all over my body with the pipe and I was hurled on the floor. The officer forced me to stand up against my will. Whenever I stood up, I fell down again, because the floor was covered with water and soap.

I heard Abu-Adham saying to the officer, “Make him run from the beginning of the corridor to its end!” And so I ran. Whenever I passed by the officer, he would hit me with the pipe. I heard them calling this officer Mahmoud. He was a young, tall and thin man, and his face had marks of acne. Mahmoud continued to hit me and force me to run for about six minutes. Then Abu-Adham asked Mahmoud to make me jump to the song “Suna’ al-Fitan.” As Mahmoud played Suna’ al-Fitan on his mobile, he told me to keep jumping until the song stopped. He left me and entered one of the offices. When he came back the song had stopped, and I had stopped jumping. Then the song replayed automatically and he asked, “Why aren’t you jumping?” I replied, “The song ended.” “The song is still playing!” he replied, slapping me three times with the palm of his hand on my face which made me fall to the floor.

Then Abu-Adham came in, accompanied by a short and chubby man, slightly bald in the front of his head and with dark skin. I heard Abu-Adham calling him Abu-Ahmad. He was wearing civilian clothes. Then I saw the officer Mahmoud filling a bucket with water. I prepared myself thinking he was going to pour the water on me. Abu-Adham said to me: “Take off your clothes!” I took off the trousers and the blouse and I stayed in my underwear only. They put me in the cell which had no furniture or covers and closed the door. There was just the floor full of water and soap, one centimetre high. In the whole country the temperature was low and I knew that snow had fallen during my arrest.

When I entered the cell, I was obliged to sit in the water and soap. I stayed for hours sitting on the floor. I remember that at around 5:00 am on Monday 11 February 2008, one of the investigation officers opened the door of the cell. I believe his name was Abu-Fathi. He was of medium height with dark skin and some white hair on each side of his head. He opened the door and started laughing. A few minutes later, Abu-Adham entered and said to me: “We will be better than you.” He called the officer “Mahmoud” and told him, “Give
him his clothes!” Abu-Adham said to me, “Put on your clothes!” As I touched the trousers and the blouse, I realised that they were both wet; so I refused to put them on. They got
me a pair of trousers of theirs and Abu-Adham said to the officer “Give him a piece of carton to use as a mat so he can sleep.” I spent eight days on the piece of carton, since Abu-Adham refused the request of Mahmoud, the officer, to give me a mat. As for the food, it was good, but I did not eat it because going to the toilet was humiliating. They would take me to the toilet an hour or two after I would ask them to do so, they would refuse to allow me to close the door and they would push me to finish my use of the toilet within one minute. Therefore I remember that over 14 days I ate only four loafs of bread [small loafs of Arabic Pita bread]. I spent the first four days in physical and psychological fatigue. The psychological distress was a result of the the fact that Abu-Adham accused me of possessing arms belonging to the Hamas movement, and he insisted that I get them. I was conjecturing how I could possibly get any arms when I had none at all. And every time I looked at myself, at how I was sitting there, wondering how another Palestinian, like me, could be torturing me, I felt like crying about how we had ended up. I used to avoid thinking about my family, my wife and daughter. Beside me, there were around five others under arrest in the neighbouring cells. I used to feel their presence, and I used to talk to them from my cell. They were all from my village, Kobar. I used to hear well what was going on outside, but I could not see anything from my cell, which is known as the isolation cell.

On 13 February 2008, I remember that I was taken out of the cell into the investigation room where Abu-Fathi was waiting for me. He told me, “Listen ‘Azzam, today you must confess what you know!” “I have nothing to confess,” I replied. He called the officer and said to him, “Handcuff ‘Azzam!” And indeed my hands were tied and I was pulled up again and hung on the window of the investigation room, where they tried to get a confession from me. I was scared to confess things I did not do. They were constantly beating me with pipes and with their hands. I remember that Abu-Fathi, realising that I was tired from the beating, asked me if I wanted to drink. So I said, “I wish I could get some water.” He gave me a plastic cup filled with cold water. After I drank half of it, he took it away, and asked me “Do you want more water?” So I said, “I wish,” and he gave me another plastic cup, this time filled with hot water and I drank from it. Then he asked me which cup tasted better the first or the second cup. “The first,” I said, and he assailed me, beating me with the pipe. The beating continued until Abu-Adham entered at 5:00 pm on 14 February 2008. He was angry and told the officer, “Untie ‘Azzam!” I sat in front of Abu-Adham and he said to me: “So, ‘Azzam, you must confess so we can finish here.” So I said to him, “I do not have anything to confess.” Then he told the officer: “Put ‘Azzam back on the Shabeh!” And indeed, Mahmoud hung me from the window again. I felt someone heading towards me and hitting me strongly on my head. I felt a severe pain, dizziness and fatigue. He said to me, “What? Do you want to confess?” So I replied with pain and regret: “Yes, I want to confess.” Within seconds I found myself freed from all cuffs and chains, sitting on a chair and giving one affidavit after the other; all false affidavits.

Then they put me back in the solitary cell. During that period I was not brought before any attorney, and whenever I asked when my detention would end they would say: “Confess and you will go back home!” On Thursday, after I was done with my affidavits, they brought me back to the cell. At around 7:00 pm, or before that – what counts is that it was around that time – I heard the voice of al-Sheikh Majd al-Barghouti, the Imam of the mosque of our village, Kobar. I was very surprised, but the voice was the voice of al-Sheikh Majd. Then I heard another voice screaming, “Why are you saying that the units are dogs?” Al-Sheikh answered, “People who attack me at the entrance of the mosque, the way they attacked me, are dogs! There is a certain manner to arrest someone. You don’t arrest someone in the brutal way that they did!” I heard the voice of al-Sheikh Majd saying: “’Azzam is a liar and all the young men that you have are liars!” Then I heard the sound of three to four strikes; which from my experience sounded like strikes against the abdomen. Then I heard the voice of al-Sheikh Majd, who was in pain. I knew that the distance between me and the investigation room was about 6-7 metres. Hearing the sound of the handcuffs, I assumed that al-Sheikh was hanged, mashbouh [hanged in the Shabeh manner]. I asked the young men, “What are they doing with al-Sheikh?” and they replied:  “Al-Sheikh is mashbouh like you.” Majd continued to moan and shout in pain.

I believe that it was Tuesday 17 February 2008, when I heard voices of the investigation officers with Majd. The sound of Majd’s voice was getting lower by the day. I remember on 18 February 2008 they put al-Sheikh into the cell next to ours. I had been transferred to a larger cell, where the rest of the young men were held. I was able to see what was going on outside from a gap between the door frame and the wall. I heard the officer and some investigators saying, “Majd get up and move! Stop acting!” But the voice of Majd was very low; he was in pain, continuously moaning and whining. On 19 February 2008, as we attempted to go to the toilet, I heard the voice of al-Sheikh Majd in the veranda.

He was vomiting. I heard the voice of Abu-Adham: “What Majd, why are you vomiting?” As I went back to the cell, I could see al -Sheikh Majd through the gap between the wall and the door frame. He was mashbouh on the window in the veranda. On the same day, they took Na’el al-Fahel, one of the people arrested with us, to confront Majd. When Na’el came back he told us: “I met Majd and his health condition is very severe. He does not seem to be able to cope with the torture and Shabeh. I saw the officer when he was returning Majd to the cell of isolation. I was calling him but he did not answer. I heard the investigator telling him “Stop mollycoddling Majd! Stop acting! You don’t have anything! We gave you injections and your health condition is good!” Al-Sheikh Majd was always vomiting, and whenever I shouted, “Abu al-Qassam [alias Majd Barghouti], answer me!” there was no answer.”

As for me, I met Majd for half a minute on 16 February 2008. They had turned my back to him. They wanted him to hear my voice and they wanted me to confess about him. But I shouted and told Majd that everything that was written was lies. On 21 February 2008, I felt a movement in Majd’s cell. Through the gap I saw an officer dragging Majd from his shoulders on the floor. I heard the officer telling him “Get up and walk! You have no problems!” Al-Sheikhh answered: “There are no nerves left for me to stand up.” On Thursday evening I saw them taking him to the veranda. On the morning of Friday, 22 February 2008, I heard the weak voice of Majd calling us. Around 10:30 am his voice disappeared. Around 12:00 am, Na’el, who was arrested with us, went to the bathroom to wash up for the prayer and we left after him. But we did not see al-Sheikh Majd. We saw that the veranda was open, but Majd was not there. On Friday evening, the officers and investigators were actively moving. I heard their voices and I knew that something had happened or was about to happen. One of the officers entered our cell, closed the window and covered it with a blanket in order to prevent us from seeing through it. As we looked through the window, we saw the security forces vigorously moving around the Intelligence Office. After we prayed the sunset prayer, officers came to the cell. They took Na’el and the other detainees and I stayed alone in the cell.

At around 11:00 pm on Friday, a officer arrived with my deposits and they took me in an intelligence car to the Intelligence Office in Um-al-Sharayet. In the jeep, the officer forced me to position my head towards the ground. From there they took me to the Ramallah Governorate, to the fifth floor, where the governor, al-Tirawi, and others from the security forces, were present. I met Shibli Abu-al-Hayja from my town. They apologised to us and allowed me to leave. I told someone from my village, known as Abu-‘Anan, “al-Sheikh Majd must leave with us!” He replied, “God rest the soul of al-Sheikh Majd!” “What do you mean?” I asked. He replied, “Majd died,” and this is how I found out that Majd had passed away.

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 4089/2008
  • Field researcher: Manaf Abbas
  • Affidavit Date: 24 February 2008
  • Name: ‘Azzam Fathi Mousa Fahel
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