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Affidavit No. 5027/2009

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 „Abd-al-Karim „Isa Srour, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 953111382, born on 21 April 1972, an employee and a resident of Ni‟lin town, Ramallah governorate, would like to declare the following:

On Monday, 20 July 2009, I left the city of „Amman, Jordan and travelled to King Husein Bridge to get back to the Palestinian territory. According to applicable procedures, I had to cross the Israeli border after I left the Jordanian border and before I entered the Palestinian territory. On the Israeli side of the borders, I waited for about an hour and a half to have my ID card returned. During this time, no one talked to me.

Later, two persons in civil uniforms requested that I bring my luggage and accompany them. I did not ask who they were, but I had a sense they were from the Intelligence. When we reached a room, they thoroughly searched and inspected my luggage for almost half an hour. During the search, an Intelligence officer found two DVDs. On a wireless radio device, he told someone about what he had found in my bags. He spoke in Hebrew, which I understood. Officers kept me at a distance when they searched my luggage. They also searched me.
At around 2:00 pm, the Intelligence officer left the room and did not ask me about anything. They left me alone in a corridor for almost four hours. At around 6:00 pm, the Intelligence officer came along with two border guard officers. Immediately, they tied my hands with iron handcuffs and blindfolded me.

Taking me outside, I felt that they were putting me into a military jeep. After it drove for about 15 minutes, the jeep stopped. Officers made me step out into an open area. I heard the sound of vehicles as well as conversations in Hebrew. Despite the fact that I was blindfolded, I felt that there were persons crossing in front of me and felt that others were standing directly in front of me. As I also heard the sound of a camera, I felt that they were taking photographs of me. I did not talk to anyone in that area. I was there for about an hour and a half. They then took me to a room where they removed the blindfold and handcuffs.

I realised I was in a medical examination room. There was some medical equipment and a doctor, along with the two Border Guard officers, who had arrested me on the bridge. A nurse measured my blood pressure. The doctor asked if I had had any surgical operations. The diagnosis did not exceed 15 minutes, during which the doctor filled out an application that had been placed on his desk. Thereafter, the two Border Guard officers blindfolded and handcuffed me. They took me out of the room, and I felt that I was in the open yard again. About 45 minutes later, they dragged me to the jeep again, which drove for almost half an hour.

So far, I did not know why I had been detained. No one questioned me. I also did not know where the jeep was travelling. After it stopped, I was forced out. As I was still blindfolded, an officer told me that I was then in „Ofar Prison in Beituniya. Having walked for several metres, I felt myself entering a closed place. They removed my blindfold and handcuffs. I found myself in a large container, where they took my personal belongings and filled out a relevant list. Again, they searched my luggage. As they moved my belongings onto the table, I did not see the DVDs, my cellular telephone, or either of my two telephone SIM cards. Meanwhile, a soldier told me that I was being detained and that I would be sent to prison. I requested that I call my family, but they refused. They took me to Section 5 in „Ofar Prison, which is comprised of tents. I believe it was 10:30 pm. I was exhausted and fell asleep.

At noon on Tuesday, 21 July 2009, a prison officer told me that a lawyer was waiting for me in the visiting room. I met with Lawyer Miri, who had been delegated by a human rights organisation. Police officers were also present in the room. The lawyer inquired about what had happened to me from the time I had been arrested on the bridge until the time of his visit. He also informed me that I would be interrogated the next day and later brought to the court.

At around 7:00 am on the morning of Wednesday, 22 July 2009, I was taken to the police offices at „Ofar Prison, where police officers took a statement about my detention. Then, I was sent to another room, where I stayed for almost half an hour, I was handcuffed. A person wearing the civil uniform arrived and introduced himself as No‟am Abu-Haytham, he was in the late forties and he was fat. He said he was from the Intelligence and that he had come especially for me. He was in bad temper and yelled as he spoke with me. He also hit the table with his fist several times. He inquired about the name of the hotel I had stayed in while I was in Geneva, but I answered I did not know.
“You sleep in a hotel, but you do not know it name!” he yelled.
“How much did the journey cost you?” he then answered.
“I do not know. The United Nations paid all costs.” I replied.
The interrogator asked about people from the West Bank, who had been with me. I said I did not see anyone whom I knew.
“Why did they choose you to go to Geneva?”
“I do not know. The United Nations called me and requested that I go to Geneva.”
“What is this? All your answers are „I don‟t know‟. Who knows? I will know everything.” The interrogator got nervous and yelled in my face. “You are not cooperating in the interrogation.” He added.
“This is all I know.” I replied. “There, I saw person from al-Haq and al-Damir”.
The interrogator then said that he knew I was a leading activist in the Anti-Wall Committee. That was why I had been selected to go to Geneva. I replied I was a human rights activist and a volunteer at al-Haq in Ramallah.

“Listen, if Moses‟ stick doesn‟t work with you, then Pharaoh‟s would.” He shouted. “You‟d better cooperate with me. Muhammad, you know that I am able to get any information I want. But I‟d like to hear from you for your own sake. In the way you‟re acting, you‟re forcing me to place you under administrative detention or charge you with an offence so that you rot in prison. You know well that this is easy for me. He went on, “To be clear, I can now place you under administrative detention for two years.”
Then, he asked how long I had been a volunteer at al-Haq. I answered that I had been volunteering since the Wall had been constructed. He also inquired about the wound in my foot.

“I had been injured because your soldiers opened fire indiscriminately on us during Ni‟lin‟s peaceful demonstrations.” I replied. “Therefore, I filed a case against soldiers in cooperation with B‟Tselem.” I continued.
“You see how you take part in such things.” He commented.

I said that all demonstrations I had participated in were peaceful, but soldiers open fire on us in an excessive and indiscriminate manner.

“This is why you will have until Sunday to make up your mind. I will come back to you on Sunday. The decision is in your hands. You will either go home or stay here.” He yelled at me.
I was questioned for two hours, during which I became exhausted and sick. On my way back to the prison, I was scared that I would have to pay a price for travelling to Geneva, and that I would be imprisoned for several months. However, I was convinced that the testimony I made before the United Nations fact-finding committees was necessary. I had given testimony on the violence used by occupying troops in oppressing peaceful demonstrations in Ni‟lin as well as their use of excessive force. It should be noted that I had witnessed the killing of „Arafat Rateb al-Khawaja (22- years-old) and Muhammad Sa‟dat al-Khawaja (19 –years-old).

At around 7:00 am on Thursday, 23 July 2009, police officers transported me to the court. There, Advocate Miri told me that I would be released and could return to my house that day. Although I was happy, I was afraid when I remembered that interrogator No‟am had threatened to put me under administrative detention. The judge made his decision to release me on a bail of 4,000 NIS. He also decided that I should report to Sha‟ar Binyamin police station every other week and sign until the case is closed.

Indeed, I left the prison and returned to my house. Every second Tuesday, I report to Sha‟ar Binymain police station and sign my name. Every time I go, I am afraid that I will be arrested by police officers at the station, as this has happened to someone I know.

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 5027/2009
  • Field researcher: Manaf Abbas
  • Affidavit Date: 28 July 2009
  • Name: Muhammad „Abd-al-Karim „Isa Srour
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