Sunday, October 9, 2011

Voices from the Occupation: Ahmad F. - Detention

DCI Palestine

Name: Ahmad F.
Date of arrest: 6 July 2011
Age: 15
Location: Burin village, occupied West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones
On 6 July 2011, a 15-year-old boy from Burin village, near Nablus, in the occupied West Bank, is arrested by Israeli soldiers from the family home at 2:00 am.
At around 2:00 am, on 6 July, 15-year-old Ahmad was up late socialising with family members who had just arrived from Jordan. “We were all sitting on the balcony […] when we heard people climbing up the stairs,” recalls Ahmad. “Suddenly, many soldiers stormed the house. We were surprised to see them. They started shouting at us and ordering us into the living room.” Some soldiers started searching the house causing a big mess. Ahmad’s two-year-old nephew started crying, and this “annoyed the soldiers who started shouting and asking his mother to shut him up.”
Approximately one hour after the soldiers arrived, Ahmad was informed that he was ‘wanted for interrogation’. “One of the soldiers immediately tied my hands from the front with three sets of plastic cords. One cord for each hand and one cord connecting the two. The ties were very tight and caused me much pain. Then another soldier grabbed me by the arm and took me out of the house.” Ahmad’s brother asked the soldiers where he was being taken and was attacked by a soldier. “He started hitting him hard with the barrel of his rifle in front of the family, including the children, who became horrified and started crying,” recalls Ahmad. On exiting the house Ahmad was also blindfolded.
Ahmad reports being led about 50 metres to some waiting vehicles, which then transported him to Huwwara interrogation and detention centre, on the outskirts of Nablus. On arrival at the centre Ahmad was pulled out of the vehicle and made to stand beside it. ‘They were chanting, laughing and shouting in my ears,” recalls Ahmad. “They were making fun of me. One of them placed his mobile phone beside my ear and played a police siren so loud. Then one of them grabbed me by the arm and placed my head against the car engine, as another one kept stepping on the accelerator. They did this several times. My whole body started shaking.” Ahmad reports that he was then taken inside the gates of the centre but left outside from about 5:00 am until 3:00 pm the following day. He was not brought any food. Whilst waiting outside, Ahmad reports being verbally abused and told: ‘We want you to die out here.’ Whenever Ahmad tried to sleep a soldier would start shouting and kicking him to keep him awake.
At one point, whilst Ahmad was waiting outside, some soldiers brought a dog and Ahmad was pushed to the ground. “I managed to see the dog from under my blindfold,” he says. “They brought the dog’s food and put it on my head. I think it was a piece of bread, and the dog had to eat it off my head. His saliva started drooling all over  my head and that freaked me out. I was so scared my body started shaking because I thought he was going to bite me. They saw me shaking and started laughing and making fun of me.  Then they put another piece of bread on my trousers near my genitals, so I tried to move away but he started barking. I was terrified.”
Later that day Ahmad was taken to the police station in Ari’el settlement and interrogated. “The interrogator removed my blindfold but kept me tied,” recalls Ahmad. “The interrogator accused me of throwing stones, but I denied it.” The following day, Ahmad was placed inside another vehicle and transferred to Megiddo prison, inside Israel. “The air conditioner was turned on and it was freezing inside. I asked them to turn it off, but they refused even though my body started shivering.” The vehicle made a number of stops before arriving at Megiddo at around 11:00 pm. Ahmad was not provided with any food during the eight hour journey, and was strip searched on arrival at the prison.
Forcibly transferring Palestinian children out of the occupied West Bank violates Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. For further information on Palestinian children in detention see – In their own Words: A report on the situation facing Palestinian children detained in the Israeli military court system (July 2011).