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Affidavit no. 7744/2012

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, ‘Afif Hasan ‘Ali ‘Afifi, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID number 028188324, born on 31 January 1971, a carpenter and a resident of the Old City of Jerusalem, Jerusalem governorate, would like to declare the following:

On Friday 5 October 2012, I attended Friday prayer at the al-Aqsa mosque. After the prayer, I returned to my house in the Bab al-Hadid, an area adjacent to the al-Aqsa mosque. The situation was calm when I returned to the house. I usually sit on a stone platform, where my house is located. That day, I was sitting with my brother ‘Allam and my son Hasan before some friends joined us for a chat. After about 20 minutes, at around 12:40 pm, I was still sitting on the stone platform, when I heard voices but thought the voices were coming from inside the al-Aqsa and therefore would not reach us. After that, my wife called out to me to ask where I was. I told her I was at the front door sitting with my friends.

The Bab al-Hadid gate was open then, and I could see through it clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian worshippers. My son Hasan, who is 16 years old, was sitting by my side, when the people of the neighbourhood made their way towards the Bab al-Hadid to see what was happening inside the al-Aqsa mosque. Hasan joined them with his uncle ‘Allam.  He stood beside the Bab al-Hadid gate, away from the worshippers and Israeli forces, and he didn’t participate in what was happening inside the yards of the al-Aqsa mosque. Then, the Israeli forces started throwing sound bombs at the people at the Bab al-Hadid, so people escaped into the neighbourhood. Following that, the Israeli forces threw three sound bombs; one of which hit the back of ‘Ali Jabir and one hit the foot of Mahmoud Jabir, who are both from the same neighbourhood. My brother ‘Allam and my son Hasan were among the people escaping. I brought my brother, son and friends inside the stairwell. I was trying to close the door to the stairwell before members of the Israeli Special Forces arrived. I knew it was them because of their black uniforms. They were also wearing helmets and carrying guns, batons and shields to protect them from the stones. I felt them hit me with a baton and drag me out of the stairwell. At that point, my son Hasan tried to drag me inside the stairwell.

 The Israeli officers then left me and dragged my son Hasan outside. When I turned over to see what was happening, I saw them throw my son on the ground; I would say there were about 15 Israeli officers attacking Hasan. They were brutally beating Hasan with their hands and legs while he was lying on the ground. I tried to rescue him, but the members of the Special Forces beat me with batons on my right leg and my left thigh, pushed me inside the stairwell and closed the door. After that, my wife came down from the house to the stairwell shouting “I want to see my son”. I told her we cannot, as the officers are preventing us from seeing him. Then she and I opened the door and I heard her begging, I heard her begging the soldiers to step away from Hasan. Of course no one listened to her, and they hit me a bunch of times on my genitals and my left thigh, and an officers sprayed pepper gas on my wife’s and my face, and they pushed us inside the stairwell. I closed the door out of fear that the Israeli officers would continue their attack on us, and then I went up to my house, located on the second floor, where I found my wife unconscious. I could barely see because of the heavy pepper spray. I headed toward the window overlooking the neighbourhood to see what had happened to Hasan at the Bab al-Hadid. I looked down, but did not see my son Hasan and I couldn’t find him in the neighbourhood. The Bab al-Hadid gate leading to the al-Aqsa mosque was closed, and there were Israeli soldiers and policemen in light blue uniforms asking about what had happened, so I went down to find out where they had taken my son Hasan. I told them that the Special Forces had arrested my son, and I asked them where my son was. They said they did not know where he was, but 15 minutes later they called me and told me to go to the "al- Qishlah" Israeli police station at the Hebron gate and that there I would be able to find out where my son was.

My brother ‘Allam and I went directly to the "al-Qishlah" and started asking questions. There we found one of the policemen who was at the al-Aqsa mosque, named "Salih al-Haj Yahya" and I asked him if my son Hasan was there.  He told us Hasan had not yet arrived and to wait outside. I sat waiting and of course my brother ‘Azzam called and told us to go to the "Beit al-Yaho" police station, located near the al-Buraq (Western) wall, because Hasan might be there. So my brother ‘Allam went to the "Beit al-Yaho", I stayed at the "al-Qishlah", and my brother ‘Azzam went to the “al- Moskobiyah” (Russian compound police station in West Jerusalem)) to look for Hasan. Half an hour later, my brother ‘Azzam called me and said that he saw the Special Forces dragging Hasan into the “al- Moskobiyah”, so ‘Allam and I headed to the “al- Moskobiyah”. The Israeli policemen, however, prevented us from entering so we called the lawyer Muhammad Mahmoud and hired him to defend Hasan. Ten minutes later, the lawyer called us and told me that the police are currently providing first aid to Hasan and that they will send him to Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Centre. Fifteen minutes later, I saw policemen in gray uniforms with Hasan; they put him in a white Toyota with police license plates. He was handcuffed and his face was swollen; he was ten metres away from me. My brother and I followed the police car which went to Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Centre. When we guessed that the destination of the car was Hadassah Medical Centre, we passed the police car, because I know that the police car arrives at the emergency room directly, whereas we need time to reach the emergency room.

When I got there, I started looking for my son in the emergency room. I found him at the entrance to the emergency room, and noticed that there was blood on his face, his eyes were swollen shut, and his hands and legs were handcuffed. Three policemen were with him. I tried to come closer to my son but the police stopped me and said I was not allowed to come closer. When Hasan tried to ask me why I was limping, the police shouted at him to "shut up" and dragged him inside the emergency room.

My brother ‘Azzam registered me so I could have my leg examined and the doctors admitted me to the emergency room. In the emergency room I was on a bed only ten metres away from the bed my son was on. There were three policemen surrounding him and he was on the bed with his hands and legs handcuffed. When I tried to talk to him again the policemen shouted at me that I was not allowed to talk to my son, so we settled for just watching each other. Then they took him to another bed away from me, and the doctors took me to the radiology department where I waited for some time until my turn came for an x-ray.  I saw Hasan in the radiology department and I tried to talk to him again but the policemen prevented me from doing so. I had an x-ray of my legs and my right shoulder done, which showed that I had bruises. When I left the room, I saw the policemen taking my son out of the hospital and I learned that he was going to the “al- Moskobiyah”.

I went back home, and it was about 11:00pm at night, and neither his mother nor I nor his family members could get any sleep since we were very worried about Hasan., His mother was very worried, she was crying and saying “I want Hasan”; and she could not stop crying and asking “why didn’t you bring me Hasan”. The next day, the lawyer Muhammad Mahmoud called me at 10:00 am and told me to meet him at 3:00 pm at the “al- Moskobiyah” to see Hasan. At 11:30 am, the lawyer called me back and told me to go to the “al- Moskobiyah”right away to attend an interrogation with Hasan, so of course my brother ‘Allam and I went to the “al- Moskobiyah” where I was surprised to learn that the police were not going to allow me to attend the interrogation with my son. The lawyer explained to me that they considered me a party to the case, because I was beaten. Instead, they allowed my brother ‘Allam to attend the interrogation. ‘Allam told me that when he entered the interrogation room, he saw Hasan whose face was bruised and his eyes were swollen. The interrogator accused him of throwing stones and attempting to stab a soldier with a knife. Hasan denied both charges. During the hearing, I also told the interrogator what had happened, in exactly the same way I’ve described it in this affidavit. My interrogation lasted two hours, and then they sent me outside where I waited for another hour until my brother ‘Allam came out. The policemen then sent us out of the “al- Moskobiyah” and told us that Hasan’s trial was scheduled for 7:30 pm.

At 7:30 pm, my brother ‘Azzam and I went to the court, and I saw my son sitting less than two metres away from me, but the police prevented me from talking to him. The public prosecutor accused Hasan of throwing stones and attempting to stab a soldier of the Special Forces with a knife they alleged he had, and they said that this is why they beat him so badly. His beating was caught on tape by Amjad ‘Arafa, who videotaped the members of the special force inside the al-Aqsa sanctuary brutally beating my son and pounding his head against the ground. The lawyer denied this and asked them where the knife was and where his fingerprints were on the knife. He also said that there were surveillance cameras in the neighbourhood and on the al-Aqsa mosque, so asked where the tape is that shows Hasan allegedly trying to stab the members of the special force. The judge then extended Hasan’s detention until Tuesday.

It’s worth mentioning that we as a family watched a video clip on Friday evening in which members of the Special Forces are seen beating Hasan and pounding his head against the ground. We know the photographer; he is a young man from Jerusalem named Amjad ‘Arafa. The family started screaming when they saw the video; but I stopped his mother from seeing it as she was already having a nervous breakdown because of Hasan’s arrest. We currently live in a state of anxiety, we are unable to sleep or think as a result of Hasan’s arrest, and as a family we do not know what will happen to him. His mother's condition is very bad; besides suffering from anxiety, she is taking sedatives and is constantly crying.

I am a father of four children, the oldest of which is a young woman who is 17 years of age, the youngest of which is a boy aged 11. Hasan is the second oldest.               

 

This is my declaration, which I hereby sign on 7 October 2012

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: Affidavit no. 7744/2012
  • Field researcher: Omarn Resheq
  • Affidavit Date: 7 October 2012
  • Name: ‘Afif Hasan ‘Ali ‘Afifi
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