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Affidavit No. 5561/2010

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, Dhiya’-al-Din Muhammad Tawfiq Gheith, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 029871134, born on 14 July 1975, a worker, and a resident of Silwan neighbourhood, Jerusalem city, Jerusalem governorate, would like to declare the following:

On Wednesday, 14 July 2010, I was in my house in Silwan neighbourhood when a relative of mine telephoned me. He said that the Israeli Intelligence agency had arrested my 12 year old son, Ahmad and that he had been informed of this by my 16 year old nephew, who was with Ahmad at the time of the arrest. My nephew stated that they took Ahmad to the police station on Salah-al-Din Street in Jerusalem city. I immediately left my house for the police station, which I reached at around 6:00 pm. I asked police officers about my son Ahmad. An officer said that Ahmad was being detained in the interrogation room and that I was prohibited from seeing him. I argued with the police officers about the legal right to be with my son during the interrogation. The interrogator, who was called “Wasid” and was in civil uniform, said that the law did not entitle me to accompany my son as he is over 12 years of age. I believe that the interrogator was Arab because of the language he used and his Arabic accent.

Referring to the question of my presence during Ahmad’s interrogation, he repeatedly told me, “12 years minus one hour, you are allowed. 12 years plus one hour, you are not allowed,” . The interrogator then forced me to sign an agreement, written in Hebrew, which I understood, stating that I would allow him to interrogate Ahmad.

The interrogator threatened that if I refused he would keep Ahmad in custody at the police station all night and interrogate him the following day without my permission. I waited outside on the street for the interrogation to end. At about 11:00 pm, the interrogator summonsed me. He told me, “your son has big problems. The Israeli police took video footage of him throwing stones at settlers.”

I requested to watch the video recording of the interrogation, but he said it was forbidden. When I finally entered the interrogation room, I saw Ahmad who was sitting on a chair with his face turned to the wall. I approached him to make sure he was alright. His eyes were dripping with tears. From severe frustration, he was stamping his feet on the ground and violently clenching his fingers together. He shouted and begged me not leave him. I assured him I would never leave him alone. Later, the interrogator, “Wasid”, came in and told me that I could return with my son to our house, but that I should bring him back to the police station at 08:30 am the following day.

The entire night, Ahmad did not sleep. He kept asking me what the police would do to him and whether they would beat him or not. I tried to calm him down. The next morning, on 15 July 2010, we returned to the police station on Salah–al-Din Street in Jerusalem. The interrogator “Wasid” said he would interrogate Ahmad once more, but in my presence this time. However, he threatened that he would charge me with disrupting the interrogation if I intervened in any way. Despite keeping silent, I was amazed at the charges levelled against Ahmad. These included the destruction of settler cars, throwing stones at settlers, and causing damage to Me’an settlement guards’ room in the centre of e Silwan neighbourhood.

What scared me most was that I felt the interrogator continued interrogating my son based on what was said in the interrogation that took place the previous day. The interrogator used my son’s answers, which were given under psychological pressure, to make him confess to thing he had not done.

Later, a police car arrived and Ahmad and I were taken to al-Maskobiyya (the ‘Russian Compound’) Detention and Interrogation Centre in West Jerusalem. A police officer initially took Ahmad to the photography and fingerprints room, and then to a court room, where Ahmad and I waited for two hours. All the while, a police officer kept guard over us. An advocate, who introduced himself as Qadri, approached me and said that the
court had appointed him to act as a defence lawyer in my son Ahmad’s case. This advocate, Qadri, who appeared to be an Arab from Israel, informed me that it was unlawful for intelligence officers to arrest my son in the way that they had. The police should have delivered a subpoena to my house. Then, I would have accompanied my son to the police interview. He also said that I should have been present with my son during the interview.

At 11:30 am, we entered the court room. The judge was Eret Cohen (I later learnt her name from the court record, which we acquired a copy of). I managed to grasp the Hebrew, which the trial was conducted in. I heard the police officer say that my son posed a danger to the security of Israeli citizens and that he had carried out many acts of vandalism. He requested that the judge sentence Ahmad to a period of one month’s imprisonment, exclude him from the area in which settlers are present in Silwan for a period of two months, and impose a fine of NIS 2,000 against him.

At the end of hearing, which finished at about 5:00 pm, the judge issued a judgement, ruling that my son would be excluded from ‘Ein Silwan Street as well as from the area in which settler houses are located in the Silwan neighbourhood for a period of two months. As such, my son has been denied access to the only area where he can play in the overcrowded Silwan district, as there are no other areas available for children to play in. In other words, my son was to remain confined to the house. This was problematic: how could I keep a child confined between four walls? Therefore, I decided to move him to his grandfather’s house in al-Tur neighbourhood in East Jerusalem. This is a great torment to me because I would love for my son to stay with me.

 

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 5561/2010
  • Field researcher: Omarn Resheq
  • Affidavit Date: 17 July 2010
  • Name: Dhiya’-al-Din Muhammad Tawfiq Gheith
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