Testimony: Three Palestinians beaten at flying checkpoint

Ayman Suliman Mustafa Mkhalfeh, 21, is a university student and a resident of ‘Ajjul Village in Ramallah district. His testimony was given to Iyad Khadad, at the witness’s home on 8 May 2007:

Saturday evening (5 May 2007) around 5:00pm, I was in a taxi on my way from Birzeit University back to my village — ‘Ajjul. We saw a flying checkpoint about three kilometers after the ‘Atarah checkpoint in the Kurnit Al-Bir area — a mountainous and uninhabited area. The distance from that area to ‘Ajjul is approximately two kilometers.

A Border police jeep was standing in the middle of the road blocking the traffic. When we arrived, there were two cars in front of us but more cars started arriving and stopping behind us. I am not sure how many cars there were exactly but I assume it was around ten or fifteen.

There were two Border police officers at the checkpoint, but they were not inspecting people or cars like they usually do. I neither knew what they were doing nor what the purpose of the checkpoint was. We waited in the car. It was very hot and the air-conditioning wasn’t working because the car had stopped. About an hour later, people started stepping out of their cars to rest outside or smoke a cigarette. Even though I don’t usually smoke, I also got out the car for a cigarette. I saw more people getting out of their cars — the police officers did not object. No one who got out of their car wandered off. The police officers were about 30 meters away from us. About three to five minutes after the passengers got out of their cars, one of the police officers signaled to us to get back in, and we all entered our cars.

Ten minutes after we got back into the car, two police officers came closer. One of them appeared to be in his twenties and was of medium height and build, with dark skin and a beard. The other officer was also of medium height and in his twenties, but he did not have a beard.

The officer with dark skin opened the car door and ordered me out. I stepped out. He spoke in Arabic. He went to another car and brought two young guys I knew from my village — Mahmoud Malek Bawatneh (22 years old and a student at Al-Quds Open University) and Amjad Mfaleh Saleh (35 years old and a former construction worker).

One of the officers ordered us to walk toward them. They took us behind their jeep. When we got there, he beat us on the back with the butt of his rifle and yelled “lift your hands up, turn your face towards the jeep, and shut your mouth!” We did what he ordered. He then took out a police club from the jeep and beat us very harshly on the back. He went from one of us to the other — in order. He continued yelling “shut your mouth and lift your hands up!” He continued beating us for over 10 minutes and I could no longer bear the beatings. I turned around to ask him to stop and he ordered me to sit on the ground. I did. He then used the club to beat me on my head. I felt the blood trickling. I yelled but he wouldn’t stop. He hit my left ear. I screamed and begged him to stop, but he continued beating me and left the other two. He beat me on the back and on the neck. I protected my head with my hands and he continued beating me for three to four minutes. He then kicked me and told me to get out.

I could hardly get up, I was nauseated, my vision was blurred, and I felt dizzy. I don’t even know how I made it to the car. A little while later the two other guys came back. I sat in the car. The driver tried to bandage my wounds with tissue paper. I asked him to take me to the hospital.

Ten minutes later, the checkpoint was moved. I saw two other Border Police jeeps coming from the direction of the mountains. I don’t know what they were doing there. They stopped next to the jeep that was blocking the way. Then they all drove off in the direction of the ‘Atara Checkpoint.

The driver took me home and an ambulance came ten minutes later. It took me, and the two other guys that had been beaten to a hospital called Sheikh Zayed. We arrived there around 19:30. I was taken into the trauma room where they ran some tests and x-rays on me. They stitched my brow with four stitches. They said I had injuries in my left hand, in my right finger, in my right wrist and in my back and shoulders.

he next day at 13:30 my father and I went to Beit El to file a complaint. I gave my complaint to the officer whose name was Karem. He collected the testimony from me and took my picture. The two other guys who were beaten also filed complaints. The officer later drove us in a police vehicle to another police station.

Related Links

  • B’Tselem: The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories