Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Night-time arrest

On Monday night (well actually it was Tuesday very early morning), as an ISMer and I were coming back from Hashem's home we came across a group of soldiers who were marching a  prisoner down the street. His hands were tied in front of him, and they were shoving him around and being rough with him. The soldiers were wearing black masks to cover their faces, and the person they arrested was an adult. 

In Winnipeg, police sometimes dress in a similar way when they arrest gang leaders or others who are high up in the world of organized crime. It is possible that the man was or is involved in an armed group that attacks or was planning to attack Israelis... although I have no way of knowing that and the way he was being detained also is no guarantee of this.
   Many Palestinian kids who have been arrested for throwing rocks (or having been accused of doing such) also reported having large numbers of masked soldiers break into their homes at night-time and arrest them in the same fashion. So have leaders of popular resistance committees in villages, who organize demonstrations. Even those like Hassan who organize demos where no one throws anything.

Regardless of what the man was being arrested for and what he did or didn't do, his hands were tied and he wasn't trying to run or resist. In spite of this, he was getting shoved around, and it looked very likely to me that his captors were going to be getting even more physical.

We asked what's going on and snapped a few pictures. The soldiers stopped mistreating him and turned their attention on us. They really mad at us and began swearing at us and telling us to shut up and threatening to arrest us. Nothing out of the ordinary in our line of work here. They also demanded we put our cameras away and not take pictures. I asked them if they are ashamed or trying to hide something, and reminded them that we do have a right to take pictures. They shouted at us again, and threw the guy in a jeep and drove away. 

Some other ISMers came out, and a group of us decided to look into the police stations and see if was brought there, and we let the police and soldiers we spoke to know that we witnessed soldiers being rough with a detainee. Hopefully that will do something, even if only to let the people who are holding him know that the guy's arrest was witnessed by people. 

Unfortunately we do not have his name or know who he is.  Palestinians we know as well as ISMers are trying to find information on him and his family, who like many other Palestinian families-  will have lost their son for who knows how long- not knowing where they are being held or for how long, or when if ever they will be released.

Soldiers marching the man away. The picture quality is terrible, but you can see him in the front being pushed forward by a soldier who is marching him down Tel Rumeida.

The checkpoint booth in which he was briefly shoved into. By that time, many of his captors though stopped shoving him, and their attention was more on us.

The jeep he was driven away in.

One of the police stations we inquired at. They claimed they don't have him... which could be very well true, since the soldiers who arrested him probably took him to one of the many military bases around here. Nevertheless, we informed the police what we witnessed. Hopefully the knowledge that his treatment was witnessed by outside observers may have some impact on how he will be treated.

Of course, there is no way of knowing this.

Please pray for him, and for many other Palestinians who are being held in prisons and military bases and police stations across the West Bank and Israel and Gaza.

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