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Palestinians Suffer Ill-Treatment at Huwwara Checkpoint

Thursday, 12 December 2013 16:18 - [2-8 December] - Ref.: 515/2013
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huwara_checkpoint_ochaAccording to Al-Haq documentation, on Wednesday 4 December, a group of journalists and students were held for several hours at the Huwwara checkpoint south of Nablus.

 

Haroun Yousef al-'Amaiyra – Ramallah

On Wednesday 4 December at 9:00 am, Haroun, 29, along with a group of journalists, went on a media tour around the northern Jordan Valley.

Upon their return, at approximately 5:20 pm, the bus was stopped by Israeli soldiers at Huwwara checkpoint. A soldier boarded the bus and ordered all the men to hand over their ID cards and then leave the bus. As they handed over their ID cards, the group told the soldiers that they were journalists on an official field visit but the soldiers took no notice. When the men disembarked from the bus, the soldiers ordered them to stand in a line with their backs to them. Then the soldiers started yelling at the group, using Arabic curse words.

A soldier got on the bus and ordered the women to draw the curtains across the windows. By that time, the temperature had dropped and it had started to rain. The Israeli soldiers began searching the men outside of the bus one by one and demanded that some of them take off their shirts. They then began inspecting the men in a very degrading manner and touched them in private body areas. The soldiers also twisted the men’s arms, pushed their heads to the ground and ordered them to keep their legs separated, which was both painful and humiliating.

The group was held for approximately one hour and fifty minutes in the rain. While the men were being allowed to board the bus again, a soldier claimed that one of the girls on the bus had sworn at him and he demanded that she get off the bus and apologise to him. The group refused to let the girl get off the bus, which caused the soldiers to order the men off the bus once again. They were forced to stand in the same position as before until the girl apologised. At that point, Haroun managed to call the Palestinian liaison office and inform them about the incident. Haroun believes that they coordinated with the Israeli liaison office, as the group was then released, at approximately 7:30 pm. 

Haroun believes that the incident was a military training on inspection and restraint, rather than a genuine security procedure, because the soldiers were repeating procedures according to their Officer’s orders. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 9180/2013)

Al-Haq condemns the ill-treatment endured by the group at the hands of the Israeli officers. According to international humanitarian law, protected persons are entitled in all circumstances to be humanely treated and shall be protected against all acts of violence or threats, and against insults and public curiosity. Al-Haq further calls upon Israel to abide by its obligations under international human rights law, including the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both of which state that no one should be subjected to cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment or punishment.