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Affidavit No. 5221/2010

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, „Amer Sa‟dallah Muhammad al-Sweirki, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 906499306, born on 8 March 1982, unemployed, and a resident of al- Tuffah neighbourhood, Gaza city, would like to declare the following:

My name is „Amer Sa‟dallah Muhammad al-Sweirki. I am 27 years old, married, and the father of two boys. I live in my family‟s house, which is located near al-Joulani Mosque in al- Tuffah neighbourhood east of Gaza city.
At around 8:00 pm on Friday, 1 January 2010, I heard noise and screams at the door of the house, so I went out to see what was going on. I saw four cars belonging to the police agency of the Gaza government as well as a large number of police officers who were wearing the official uniform. Several other persons wearing civilian clothes and carrying Kalashnikov rifles and clubs were also in the police officers‟ company.

I saw the commander of the force talk to my brother Sami and order him to extinguish candles, which he had lit on the balcony of his flat, which overlooks the street. Sami was celebrating the 45th anniversary of the Fateh Movement. However, the Gaza government prevented Fateh proponents from organising any activity in the Gaza Strip to celebrate Fateh‟s anniversary. Then, I heard my brother Muhammad, 22 years old, speaking to the police officers. He exclaimed that to have us put out the candles did not necessitate all this force and noise. As Muhammad quarrelled with them, the commander ordered the police officers to arrest him and put him onboard a jeep.

I saw the police officers severely beat Muhammad and I could not stand to watch. I intervened and tried to talk to the force commander and persuade him not to arrest my brother. However, the commander ordered police officers to arrest me and place me onboard the jeep along with Muhammad. The police officers also beat me with clubs and dragged me forcefully inside the jeep.

When she saw that Muhammad and I were arrested inside the jeep, my mother, Nathira (56 years old) hurried to ask the police officers to release us. When she tried to pull us out of the jeep I saw a police officer push her violently against the jeep. Her chest hit the rear seat forcefully and she fell on the floor. The officer then ordered his colleagues to arrest my mother and they pulled her inside the jeep beside us. At this time, Muhammad and I were being beaten and did not manage to save our mother from the police officers. I saw my mother put her hand on her chest: she was in pain and could hardly breathe. I begged the police officers to let her go and arrest Muhammad and I. I told them that my mother was ill and suffered from diabetes, high blood pressure and heart problems, but they did not listen to me.

The jeep drove for a distance of 150 metres and stopped. I heard a person talking on a wireless telecommunications device. He ordered the jeep to stop, the police officers to disembark and for one officer to stay to guard my brother Muhammad, my mother and I. The person ordered all police officers to return to the same area; i.e. to our house. The police officers stepped out and one officer, in addition to the driver, remained in the jeep, guarding us, and pointing their weapons at us.

I heard my mother say that she felt suffocated and wanted to go to hospital as soon as possible. I told the police officer this.

The officer replied: “We will teach you good manners at the station first. Then, you can go to hospital!”
My mother continued to request that I take her to hospital. I begged the police officer to allow my mother to go to hospital, even if alone, but it was in vain. Almost half an hour later, police officers arrived and climbed onto the jeep, which proceeded to al-Tuffah police station. I continued to beg them to allow my mother to go to hospital, but no one responded to me.

When we arrived at the police station, police officers took my mother out of the jeep and made her lie on the ground. Then, Muhammad and I stepped out. Barely able to talk, my mother told me to look for a person called Mustafa Hassouna, our neighbour and a police officer at al-Tuffah police station. She told me to ask him to allow her to go to hospital. About 15 minutes later, Mustafa arrived. When he saw my mother lying on the ground and hardly able to breathe, he ordered police officers to take her immediately in the same jeep to al-Shifa‟ Hospital. Along with four police officers, Muhammad and I went to the hospital. When we reached al-Yarmouk junction, Muhammad started to cry and asked me to give him some tissue papers to wipe out the blood and foam that dripped from my mother‟s mouth. My mother ceased to talk. Muhammad and I started to scream inside the jeep.

When we reached the emergency room at al-Shifa‟ Hospital, Muhammad and I carried our mother, whilst the police officers guarded us. I did not see any sign of life from my mother. After the doctor in the emergency room diagnosed her, he ordered that she be relocated immediately to the intensive care unit, where doctors tried to revive her. Three minutes later, however, a doctor came out and confirmed to me that my mother had died. I cried and screamed. Then I saw the police officers who had been waiting for us quickly leave the hospital. A few minutes later, my brother Sami arrived. He was in serious condition because he had been harshly beaten. I told him about what had happened and we returned home. On the next day, we received the dead body of our mother and buried her in al- Shuja‟iyya cemetery.

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 5221/2010
  • Field researcher: Mohammad Abu Rahmah
  • Affidavit Date: 14 January 2010
  • Name: „Amer Sa‟dallah Muhammad al-Sweirki
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