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Affidavit No. 6362/2011

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, Tareq Khaled ‘Abd al-Habil, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 916696614, born on 30 August, 1982, an employee for the Palestinian Authority and a student at al-Quds Open University, and a resident of al-Shate’ Neighborhood, Gaza governorate, would like to declare the following:

On Wednesday 16 March 2011 at around 1:30 pm, a large number of Al-Quds Open University students - Gaza branch - gathered spontaneously in the University yard for a peaceful sit-in to protest the raid carried out by Hamas security personnel and loyalists at al-Azhar University campus earlier that day. Hamas security personnel had brutally beaten students at al-Azhar University, who were in touch with us as they were being assaulted. Our sit-in was also in protest of the beating of peaceful protesters during a sitin at al-Katiba Square the previous Tuesday.

Al-Quds Open University students were raising Palestinian flags, chanting slogans for national unity and calling for an end to the political division. All of a sudden tens of Hamas security personnel invaded the University from the back gate and with them came a large number of other Hamas loyalists and University students from the Islamic Bloc. They had guns, batons, iron rods, and electric shockers (tasers) and wires. They attacked the male and female students and severely beat them and spoke to them in a foul language. They also beat the University guards and ran after the students who escaped inside the University buildings. They then raided the lecture halls and beat more students. I saw a couple of the attackers raid the women’s praying room and kick and beat them severely with batons and their arms; they also spoke to them in a foul language. I also noticed that the members of the Hamas security apparatus were focusing on the women’s private parts when they were beating them in a way uglier than
sexual harassment.

After our peaceful sit-in was forcibly dispersed, I decided to go home. I attempted to leave from the campus’ back gate, where I saw a number of men in civilian clothing armed with batons arriving in police cars. I also saw two police cars carrying members of the Order Police arrive in front of the University gate. The police and their supporters were breaking into the back gate. I rushed away from the University fearing that I might be attacked, especially since I was known to Hamas supporters as the president of the student council. While I was making my way through al-Naser Street opposite to Hammad’s Tower, I was stopped by a white car with “Health Services” written on it. Ten men in civilian clothing came out of the car holding batons, iron bars and tasers. One of them shouted, “guys this is Tareq al-Habil,” after which they started beating me with their batons. They then forced me into the car and drove for about two minutes, during which I was severely beaten. They then stopped the car on the main road of al-Naser Street opposite al-Naser High school, where they forced me onto the ground. One of the men from the car sat on my legs and another on my chest, while others hit me with their batons in front of all the people that were on the Street. They focused their blows to my knees and feet. They also hit me in the face and on the head while they shouted profanities at me, such as “you spy…you dog.” I screamed and begged them to stop hitting my knees, which were badly injured, but to no avail. At this point, some bystanders and local residents from the area arrived and saved me from the attackers.

I was taken to a house in the area, where the family living there gave me water and offered to help me in any way they could. Meanwhile, members of the Hamas Internal Security Unit were trying to break into the house in order to arrest me. They were unsuccessful because the landlord confronted them. He seemed to be connected to Hamas in some way, since I heard him threatening them.

I then called my cousin, Mahmoud al-Habil, and a friend of mine, ‘Amid al-Sweirki, and informed them of my situation. They soon arrived to the house and took me to al-Karama Health Center, located in al-Sheikh Radwan area. One of the doctors there informed me that my left knee was fractured and needed a platinum screw transplant surgery. For this reason, I was transferred to al-Shifa’ Hospital in Gaza.

Upon arrival to al-Shifa’ Hospital, we noticed a large presence of security personnel who were inspecting cars as they entered the hospital. We weren’t searched because the car my cousin was driving was known to belong to the Islamic Jihad party. At the hospital, we were attended to by a doctor from al-‘Absi family, with whom my cousin was acquainted. He told my cousin: “I can only guarantee your cousin’s safety -referring to me- inside the operation room.” My cousin asked him what he meant and he responded by saying that he had witnessed policemen interrogating patients while being treated at the hospital and some were even arrested after receiving their treatment.

After hearing this, I felt scared so we left and headed towards al-‘Awda Hospital in Jabaliya. There, I told the doctors that I needed platinum transplant surgery in my left knee. Shortly after, a doctor, who asked me not to mention his name, arrived to the hospital and told me that he came secretly to perform the surgery on my leg. He said he had headed there as soon as he heard about my situation. He then conducted the surgery.

Afterwards, the nurses provided me with the necessary treatment for my wounds and bruises. I stayed at the Hospital for one day and then asked to be discharged to avoid being arrested in a potential raid on the hospital. I assured them that I would take full responsibility for my release.

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 6362/2011
  • Field researcher: Mohammad Abu Rahmah
  • Affidavit Date: 19 March 2011
  • Name: Tareq Khaled ‘Abd al-Habil
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