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Affidavit No. 4330/2008

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, Mus'ab Hasam Lutfi Qataloni, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 946641891, born on 24 September 1984, a journalist at the Palestinian Media Network and a resident of the al-Mreij Street in Nablus city, Nablus Governorate, would like to declare the following:

On 15 July 2008, my family and I, including my father Husam, 51 years old, my mother Sabah, 41 years old, and brothers Kamal, 19 years olds, 'Adel, 16 years old, and Diya', 11 years old, were in our house. Consisting of one floor with an outside yard of only ten square metres, our house is located on the al-Mreij Street in the city of Nablus, adjacent to a side road. We were all asleep. Suddenly, my family and I were woken up by loud banging on the door. "Man, open the door. This is the Israeli Defence Army." I looked at my watch; it was around 1:30 am. In about two minutes, we got dressed and turned on the lights in the house. My father hurried to open the door and I followed him. As the door opened, I saw five soldiers in regular military uniform; they carried long weapons and wore helmets. I would estimate that they were in their twenties or a little older. About ten soldiers, in the same uniform and almost the same age, were dispatched at the door and in the yard.

A number of patrol cars were outside our entrance, on the south-western street adjacent to the house. Soldiers had opened the entrance easily with the manual latch. After we opened the inner door, a soldier demanded in broken Arabic that we present out ID cards. We handed them over immediately. Then he started to yell and demand that all family members get out into the yard. My father went in and called all the members of the family out. All my family members were asked to sit, about four metres away from my father and I. My father and I were seated beside one another. Over ten soldiers then entered the house. I requested, as did my father and the rest of my family, that they allow one of us to enter along with them. They refused and shouted at us to keep silent.

My father and I asked the troops who the officer was so that we could talk to him. We did not see the distinguishing insignia or mark of an officer amongst the soldiers. Pointing their weapons at us, they told us to "keep silent." About half an hour after they entered the house, a soldier shackled my hands with plastic handcuffs behind my back. He did the same with my father. Approximately 20 minutes later, a number of soldiers took me and my father to a patrol car parked in front of the house and forced us to sit on its floor. In that period, I, along with my father and the rest of my family members requested that the soldiers allow me and my father to take our medicine. Over a month earlier, I had had surgery in my left leg and was still on medication. My father also suffered from several disorders, including allergies, rheumatism and pain in the shoulder.

After we insisted for over two minutes, they allowed my mother and brother Kamal to go into the house and get the medicine. A soldier carried the medicine, which was put in a small bag. Immediately after this, a soldier blindfolded me with a piece of cloth. As the patrol car set off, my father told the troops that the handcuffs were too tight and requested that they be loosened. None of the soldiers responded. About 15 minutes later, the patrol car stopped. I could see from beneath the lower part of the blindfold that my father was forced out of the patrol car. Around an hour later, my father was taken to the patrol once again and seated beside me. He told me that his handcuffs had been loosened. The patrol car moved on again. After approximately a 20 minute drive, the patrol car stopped once again and we were forced out. As I could hear the dawn call to prayer clearly, it was about 4:30 am.

Two hours later, a soldier removed my blindfold and handcuffs. Walking for several metres, he guided me into a room. At that point, I realised that I was in Huwwara Military Camp. I knew where this camp was. The soldier fetched a piece of paper, told me to read it and to answer the questions written on it. It was about my health condition. Several minutes later, the soldier took me back to my former location, blindfolded and handcuffed. I did not know if my father was present after I returned. After about three hours or more, a soldier untied my hands and removed the blindfold and escorted me into a room. I saw several Palestinian detainees in the room. One of these detainees identified himself as the warden of the room, that is the person in charge.

He told me that breakfast would be fetched in less than half an hour and then everybody would go out to a yard outside the room, which detainees call the Forah. Indeed, at 9:30 am we went out to the Forah. I knew what the time was after I asked the warden, who had a watch. In the yard, I met my father. He told me that he was in a room with a number of other detainees. I asked where he was taken when he was led out of the patrol car. He said he was taken out of the patrol car in order to loosen his handcuffs, as I mentioned earlier.

About half an hour later, three soldiers arrived and took my father out of the yard. An hour later, we were back in the room. At 12:00 pm, a soldier took me out of the room and walked with me for several metres. Moments later, another solider showed up and put metal shackles on my feet. With my hands cuffed behind my back, the soldier put a large blindfold over my eyes. Then, he guided me into a patrol car and placed me on its floor. The patrol car set off immediately. After about a five-minute drive, the patrol car stopped. The soldier forced me out of the patrol car, untied my hands and removed the blindfold. As other soldier was there, I was sure I was still in Huwwara Military Camp.

I was in a small yard covered with tin sheets, with a small room beside it. A number of soldiers physically, and intimately, searched me using a small device. A soldier led me into the small room. A person in civilian clothing, about 30 years of age, sat at a desk, on which a computer was placed. The room was air conditioned. He introduced himself as Captain Shakir from the Intelligence Agency. The soldier who entered with me sat on a chair. After this Captain Shakir asked me to sit down on a plastic chair. He started to ask me about my social status and which faction I was affiliated with. I denied any relation to any faction. Replying to his question about my work, I said that I was a journalist at the Palestinian Media Network. He also inquired about my father.

He said that my father was a leader in Hamas. "How come you are not a member of Hamas?" he asked. "I am not affiliated with anyone and my father is not as you claim. Why are you questioning me about my father since you have already brought him in and he is under your control. Ask him," I replied. "If you do not cooperate with us, you will spend the rest of your life in prison,” he commented. "I have said what I know. I do not have any other statements," I insisted.

After an hour of interrogation, the Captain pressed a button. Another soldier came and took me out of the room. Another soldier put the blindfold on my eyes, shackled my hands behind my back, and put me in a patrol car. He returned me to the room, where I had previously been held, after he had untied my hands and removed the blindfold. I stayed in the room until 8:00 pm.

A soldier took me out, along with two young detainees who were at the front of the room. The soldier made us walk blindfolded for ten metres. He then removed the blindfolds and gave us back our ID cards. "You are on the street. Ahead of you is Huwwara checkpoint. Go there, and then back to your houses," he said. He also gave each of us a note stating that we had been in the detention centre and told us to present it if a soldier at the checkpoint stopped us. In less than five minutes, we crossed the checkpoint. Having taken a
taxi, each of us went home.

After I arrived at my house, my mother and brother Kamal said that the soldiers had confiscated our HP Pentium 4 computer, two telephone directories, a number of personal documents and a sum of 65 New Israeli Shekels that were in a drawer in the bedroom. I would like to state that I was not beaten and did not demand that I take my medicine while I was detained or when I left. My father, however, is still held in custody.

 

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 4330/2008
  • Field researcher: Yousef Qawareiq
  • Affidavit Date: 18 July 2008
  • Name: Mus'ab Hasam Lutfi Qataloni
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