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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Palestinian Teen from Qattana: Israeli Soldiers Break His Legs, Force Him to Walk

Palestinian Teen from Qattana: Israeli Soldiers Break His Legs, Force Him to Walk

Palestine News Network


February 15, 2012

Defense for Children International has documented the arrest by Israeli soldiers of 16 year-old Mahmoud Omar Faqeh from Qattana village northwest of Jerusalem. Defense for Children International revealed that the Israelis were in direct violation of many international standards for the treatment of children during arrests.

As the teen explained to Defense for Children International, Mahmoud was going with his friends to a place near the Apartheid Wall in Beit Sourek village when they were attacked by Israeli soldiers.

"One of the Israeli soldiers fired a rubber bullet at my leg, and then another Israeli soldier caught me and two of my friends. As soon as they arrested me, they forced me to get down and face the ground. They handcuffed me with a plastic tie. They started to severely beat me on my body and my legs with their feet and the black sticks that they were holding," said Mahmoud. "I was screaming from the pain they caused me. Though I was shouting 'my legs are broken,' they continued to beat me for almost 15 minutes."

"After that, the soldiers took me off the ground and arrested me. Because I couldn't walk on my legs, the soldiers started to beat me again and asked me to stand up, but I couldn't from the pain. They lifted me and forced me to walk, so I walked a little bit and I fell. Then two soldiers held me by my shoulders and dragged me until we reached the Apartheid Wall. They put me on Ma'bad Street near the wall, and they started to beat me again until a military vehicle came and took me to the nearest military checkpoints. I think it was Beit Eksa checkpoint, but, because the soldiers blindfolded my eyes with the woolen hat I was wearing, I couldn't see anything."

The teenager was detained at the checkpoint for almost half an hour and was forced to sit blindfolded in the rain on the cement, with his hands cuffed behind his back suffering from leg pain. Mahmoud said, "The soldiers transferred me from Beit Aksa checkpoint to a place – I caught its name during the investigation – it was Atarot Military Prison. They made me sit on the cement and I couldn't raise my head, because whenever I did a soldier yelled at me, and that was very painful."

At mid-night, the soldiers interrogated the teen and he was asked about his reasons for walking near the Apartheid Wall. The interrogator said that the teen was throwing stones at the soldiers and distracted them from doing their jobs, but Mahmoud denied it.

When Mahmoud told the interrogator that his legs were hurt, he was told that the soldiers would take him to a doctor who would wrap some gauze around legs and then he would be taken to prison.

After one hour, the interrogation ended and Mahmoud was transferred to Ofer Military Prison near Ramallah. There, the doctor refused to touch him or give him treatment, so the soldiers took him to Hadassa Hospital in Jerusalem, after they covered his eyes with an unused plastic garbage bag.

"When I reached Ofer, the soldiers dragged me to the prison's clinic, and I was suffering from the pain, I asked them to stop, but one of the soldiers said in Arabic, "Shut up or we will put you with the dogs."

The teen reached Hadassa Hospital the morning following his arrest. Since his arrest, Mahmoud hadn't eaten or used the bathroom.

Mahmoud said, "In the hospital, two soldiers from the Border Guard accompanied me; they were dragging me. I was asked to take some tests, and then a doctor came to check on my legs and asked for an x-ray. It showed that I have two fractures in my right leg, and the doctors wrapped it in the cast and put me on one of the beds in the hospital. Whenever I tried to sleep, one of the soldiers beat me and the other one said that am going to die here, or I am going to the prison, in addition to other curses from both of them."

The next day in the hospital, the doctors put a cast on his left leg, because they discovered that it, too, was broken. At that point, Mahmoud ate his first meal and used the bathroom, with the help of a nurse.

The following afternoon, Mahmoud was transferred to Ofer prison accompanied by three soldiers, including one female soldier, who beat Mahmoud before summoning him to the prison's administration. They also forced him to walk for 30 meters, though the soldiers were aware of the doctors' recommendations that Mahmoud not walk for at least 12 hours until the cast dries.

Mahmoud said, "One of the soldiers beat me on my chest with his vest, and it was strong, while the female soldier pulled my hair and forced me to walk on my legs."

Mahmoud stayed at Ashbal section in Ofer Prison for 16 days where he was tortured by the Israeli soldiers. During the 16 days, he appeared five times before the court, moving in a wheelchair. At the fifth session, he was released on a 1000 NIS bond until the date of his next court summons.

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