Brutal Assault at Beit El Military Court

Press Release - September 01, 2002
On 29 August 2002, two Palestinian detainees were severely beaten by 5 Israeli soldiers at the military occupation court of Beit El, located in Beit El settlement North of Ramallah. The two detainees attacked were Omar Abu Sneineh (21), arrested on June 26 during the last military invasion of Hebron, and Ussama Salahat, from the Bethlehem area.
Both detainees have been held in detention since their arrest waiting to be charged; Abu Sneineh was being held at Asqalan prison (renown for its brutal interrogation center) and Salahat was being held at the Ofer military detention camp.
On the day of their military court hearing, the detainees had their hands and legs bound and were escorted by 5 Israeli soldiers to Beit El. When detainee Abu Sneineh tried to get closer to the fence separating detainees from their families, who have been prevented from seeing their relatives since their arrests [1], a soldier struck him with the butt of his rifle in the neck, causing him to fall to the ground. The second detainee was then pushed to the ground while the soldiers began pummeling both chained prisoners to the extent that one of the soldier’s guns was broken. All this took place in full view of the detainees’ families, lawyers and court officials.
After more than half an hour, a military ambulance arrived on the scene to attend to the two shackled detainees who had been left to bleed on the ground. Abu Sneineh was taken to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem by a civil ambulance, while Salahat was sent back to Ofer detention camp, whose clinic is infamous for offering only aspirin for all medical problems.
Witnesses to the beating also reported seeing one of the soldiers who had participated in the beating, and had done so in the most enthusiastic manner, later carried out by another ambulance following a meeting between the military judge and the officer responsible for transferring detainees. Addameer has probable reason to suspect that the soldiers’ evacuation by ambulance was nothing less than sheer pageantry designed to enable the use of an Israeli self-defence plea, thus eliminating all chances for any prosecution of the guilty parties.
Fearing for the lives of their clients, lawyers of Palestinian detainees with court hearings in Beit El refused to participate in any military court hearings for the rest of the day. The lawyers argued that the court magistrates are responsible for the security of the detainees and that the court is negligent and/ or complicitous in security breaches against their clients. The court, however, shrugged off this responsibility.
A complaint was immediately lodged in the names of Omar Abu Sneineh and Ussama Salahat with the Military Police in Jerusalem. Soon after the filing of the complaint, however, an additional complaint was lodged against the two detainees introduced by the “in-patient” soldier.
Addameer’s experience in similar cases of abuse and maltreatment of detainees during their transfer, including the well-known case of the Bus 300 affair where two Palestinian detainees were killed in custody, justifies grave concerns for the well-being of Palestinian detainees and the complicity of the Israeli legal system in covering up these abuses.
We call upon all people of conscience to raise awareness within their communities concerning the grave conditions and the threats to personal security of Palestinian detainees and the negligence and complicity of the Israeli occupation’s military system.
This press release is based on sworn affidavits.
[1] family visits to Palestinian detainees have been prevented since September 2000. Appearances before military courts are the only way in which families may see from afar their detained relatives.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008 at 10:29 am and is filed under Addameer Press Releases 2002. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.