Affidavit No. 4460/2008

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, Muhammad Suleiman Mahmoud Dagher, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 850514183, born on 27 January 1990, a merchant and student at the Modern Community College and a resident of Beitouniya town, Ramallah Governorate, would like to declare the following:

I live with my family, which consists of ten members. In addition to working with my father at a commercial shop in Beitouniya, I am also a first-year student at the Modern Community College in the city of al-Bireh. At about 9:00 pm on 28 October 2008, when I was at my father's commercial shop, I saw a black Volkswagen van of the kind usually used by security agencies. A number of individuals in military uniform stepped out of the van. I saw security officers of the Palestinian Authority, but I did not know to which agency they belonged. They were armed with large Kalashnikov rifles issued by the Palestinian Authority. They also had pistols on their waists. They pointed their weapons at us. There were two citizens inside the shop buying goods, one of them about 25 years old and the other about 34 years old. The officers ordered us to raise our hands and stand against the wall, and without knowing the reasons for this, we followed their order.

They asked us about our names, saying in clear Arabic, “What are your names?” Each of us stated our name, but when they heard my name, the one who had spoken said that I was the one they wanted and ordered the others to arrest and handcuff me. There were five to seven armed individuals, of whom four approached me. They shackled my hands behind my back with iron handcuffs and placed a cloth bag over my head that reached all the way down my neck. As I could no longer see anything,
they pushed me onto a seat in the van. Officers had taken my ID card, mobile phone, personal documents, and my lighter. After I was seated, I was slapped on the face. I got the feeling that there was more than one person in the van. One of them asked
me about the citizen Muhammad al-Khaldi, who was my neighbour and worked in gas accessories. I said he was at his store. In less than a minute, I could see Muhammad al-Khaldi thrown over the van's floor, which I was able to see as the blindfold was not tight, though I could only partially see him through the blindfold. I also saw more than one individual beat Muhammad with his fists and I heard Mohammed scream in pain.

Having moved for almost 15 minutes, the van stopped and I was forced to get out. In front of me, I felt Muhammad get out too. Having walked for a very short distance, I felt that we were entering a building. We climbed two steps and walked through a corridor, which I felt had doors on both sides. At the end of the corridor, we climbed two flights of stairs to the second floor. Muhammad al-Khaldi and I were placed in a room and I did not hear anybody near us. Minutes later, a person came and asked for Muhammad al-Khaldi. After he responded, a person pulled me out of the room and Mohammed stayed there alone. They forced me to stand against a wall for a period of about two and a half hours. I was at a distance of about five metres from the door of the room where I had left Mohammed. I was not beaten as I stood there, however, I could hear my colleague Mohammed scream in pain as he was beaten.

On several occasions a person told me, “Think of what you will say about what you are planning to do." Another person said, "You must confess to what you and al-Khaldi will do on 11 November 2008." I replied, "We do not want to do anything." Then, I was subjected to interrogation about what al-Khaldi and I would do. The interrogator demanded that I testify that al-Khaldi wanted to detonate a vehicle rigged with explosives on 11 November 2008. I refused. I did not know what 11 November 2008 meant to them.

Then, they forced me into a room and continued to interrogate me. In the room, an interrogator forced me to stand on a chair and placed a rope which hung from the ceiling around my neck. "If you do not confess, we will hang you and end your life," the interrogator said. I replied: "You say I am liar regardless of what I say. Therefore, I will drop myself off the chair." They also threatened to fire shots at my head; they placed a rifle muzzle on one side of my head and a pistol on the other, both loaded.

"If you do not confess, we will kill you," they stated. "I do not know anything about what you're talking about," I replied. Then, they beat me and applied pressure to my legs with their feet. Later, the interrogator made me stand against a wall, took a photograph of me, and returned my ID card, documents, and mobile phone. Another person, however, took my mobile phone, replaced the iron handcuffs with plastic ones, and changed the blindfold. Then, I felt that a person took my mobile phone again. They put me inside a car and I felt that al-Khaldi was with me in the same car. I estimated that the car moved for about one minute. Having stopped, they ordered us to get out and they pushed us on the ground. I was still handcuffed and blindfolded. I felt the car had left.

As I managed to remove the handcuffs and blindfold, I realised that I was in the area of al-Balou' near Iban Street. I did not know the place in which I was interrogated, whether it was a house, headquarters, or hotel. Gemzo Suites Hotel was at a distance of about 250 metres away from me. I saw my colleague al-Khaldi suffering from the same conditions as I did. From this place, I called my father using al-Khaldi's mobile phone. At 1:30 am on 29 October 2008, my father arrived and al-Khaldi and I went with him to the Preventive Security headquarters. My father talked to an officer and we filed a complaint. Under order from the director, the official requested that we stay until the morning in order to take our statements. So, al-Khaldi and I stayed overnight at the headquarters. In the morning, they took our statements and we stayed until 1:00 pm.

Based on a request from the Intelligence agency, we travelled with Preventive Security officers to the Intelligence headquarters and gave our statements there. Then, we returned home. On 9 November 2008, al-Khaldi and I also made another statement to the Palestinian Investigation Department. Until now, I do not know the reason why I, nor why my colleague al-Khaldi, went through this incident or who fabricated that charge against us. Furthermore, I still do not know which agency it was that abducted us and treated us like criminals. I lost my mobile phone, which cost around 800 Israeli shekels. I should also note that I later learned that 11 November 2008 was the annual anniversary of the death of leader Abu–‘Ammar. However, I am not affiliated with any faction and am not involved in any political conflicts between Palestinian factions.

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 4460/2008
  • Field researcher: Zahi Jaradat
  • Affidavit Date: 12 November 2008
  • Name: Muhammad Suleiman Mahmoud Dagher
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