Affidavit No. 6040/2011

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, Jad Tal’at Jamal al-Safadi, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No.931535090, born on 19 July 1982, an employee at Iben Khaldoun Library, and a resident of Tal al-Hawa, Gaza Governorate, would like to declare the following:

On Sunday 23 January 2011 at around 1:30 pm, I was on duty in Iben Khaldoun Library, located opposite the main gate of al-Azhar Univerity (by the Female Students’ Building “al-Katiba”). The library is considered one of the largest in Gaza city and sells books as well as old and contemporary novels. Additionally, the library provides special services to University students. At the aforementioned time, a bearded man in civilian clothes came in and asked me about the novels of “Chicago” by the Egyptian writer ‘Ala’-al-Din al-Aswani and “Seaweed Banquet” by the Syrian writer Heidar Heidar. I became suspicious of his intentions when he asked me how many copies the library had of each book and who our supplier for the novels was.

A short while later, three other men entered the library; one of them was wearing a military uniform, while the other two were in civilian clothes; one of the latter had a gun on his side. At that instance, the bearded man, who had come in first, revealed to me his badge that I was unable to inspect thoroughly as he put it away quickly. He announced that they were with the General Investigations Unit. At that point, the man in the military uniform asked me: “Where do you get your novels from?” in a threatening tone. He continued “If you don’t help us reveal the source of these novels, you will be subject to imprisonment”. I responded by saying that these were like any other novels and were not banned from the markets. I even pointed at the shelf where they were placed. He then told one of his colleagues to “contact an officer and ask for an arrest warrant” so they could arrest me. Shortly thereafter, one of the three men showed me an order issued by the Ministry of Interior of the Gaza government ordering the confiscation of the following three novels from all the libraries in the Gaza Strip: “Chicago”, “Seaweed Banquet” and “Forbidden Pleasure”. Their justification for the order was that the three novels contradicted the teachings of Islam. The men then proceeded to confiscate posters for the novel “Seaweed Banquet” that had been posted on the library walls. They also confiscated all seven copies of “Seaweed Banquet” and the only copy of “Chicago” held at the library. I then asked them to provide me with a formal statement declaring the confiscation of these novels from the library. One of them responded by saying “Go to al- ‘Abbas Police Station in al-Rimal Neighborhood, Central Gaza, to ask for a statement and check with them regarding the novels. You are strictly prohibited from selling or even showing these novels in your library or else…”

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 6040/2011
  • Field researcher: Mohammad Abu Rahmah
  • Affidavit Date: 26 January 2011
  • Name: Jad Tal’at Jamal al-Safadi
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