Residence: Tammoun, Jenin
Date of birth: 21 November 1983
Date of arrest: 29 September 2012
Type of detention: Political prisoner
Marital status: Single
Occupation: IT Consultant
Education: Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology
“They blindfolded us, shackled our hands behind our backs and made us stand in the same position for five consecutive days. We were deprived of sleep during this period”.
On 29 September 2012 Bilal received a call from Palestinian Preventive Security forces summoning him for an interview. Upon arrival he was arrested but then released the following day on 30 September 2012. He was then called back for another interview on 1 October 2012 at 9:00am and was detained for a further two days before being released again.
These recent arrests are the latest is a long line of arrests for Bilal who has now been arrested roughly 15 times by both Palestinian security forces and Palestinian intelligence agencies. His first arrest occurred on 14 June 2007 by Palestinian intelligence and Bilal spent 11 days in interrogation before being released. However, his summons for questioning continued, usually lasting for 2/3 days before being released without charge.
On 15 November 2008 he was arrested by Palestinian intelligence, this time spending 22 days in detention before being released. In 2009 Bilal was detained twice, once by Palestinian Preventive Security, the other by Palestinian intelligence. In each detention he spent 35 days in Juneid prison in Nablus. In 2011 he was detained for 14 days by Palestinian intelligence in Tubas.
In addition to these periods of detention, Palestinian security forces have continuously targeted Bilal. His brother Mohammad says: “Bilal is summoned nearly every day for interviews by Palestinian security forces. Sometimes he is detained for a day or two and these consecutive interviews are threatening his academic and professional future”. Although Bilal enrolled in college in 2003, he only graduated in 2012.
Bilal was also arrested by Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) and two occasions. In 2002 Bilal received a one year sentence, after graduating from high school. In March of 2012, two weeks of graduating from college, Bilal was detained for five months and was released during Ramadan.
According to Bilal’s brother Mohammad, while being detained by Palestinian security forces Bilal was subjected to a number of torture methods such as stress positions, sleep deprivation, sleeping standing up, standing on tomato cans and insults. This was confirmed by Bilal in an interview with Addameer, “in one of the interrogations, in Ramadan 2007, I had an argument with the interrogation officer regarding the way I was sitting, noting that I was sitting normally. He rudely demanded me to sit straight. He told me that if I am going to behave this way, they will continue to interrogate me, then he told me to come back on Saturday (it was a Thursday). I told him that I can’t because I had an exam on Saturday. He insisted that I go, but I refused. One of the soldiers suggested that they detain me in a cell and they did. After a while, they sent a soldier to talk me into apologizing to the officer, but I refused because I did nothing wrong. The soldier threatened to keep me in detention. Then seven soldiers entered the cell, one of them shackled my hands behind my back and then asked me if I wanted to apologize. I said that I refuse. The same soldier started hitting and punching me in the face (on my right ear and cheek to be exact). He kept hitting, punching and insulting me for ten minutes and then they made me stand in a stressful position for half an hour.”
In another interview with Addameer Bilal adds, “on 15 November 2008 I was arrested with my brother Mohammad. They made us stand in stressful positions along with six other detainees, without interrogating us about anything. They blindfolded us, shackled our hands behind our backs and made us stand in the same position for five consecutive days. We were deprived of sleep during this period. During interrogation, they used a lot of psychological pressure which was because my brother was there with me. I started hallucinating from the lack of sleep. I also heard other detainees being tortured. On the second day I had an argument with one of the interrogators because my brother had a request but the interrogator hit him, then we both filed a complaint to the interrogator about torturing us in front of each other."
Bilal suffers from his nerves as a result of torture and continuous detention. He is receiving treatment by a specialized doctor and he is taking medication daily.
OTHER ARRESTS OF FAMILY MEMBERS
Bilal is not the only person in his family to be subjected to continuous arrest and interrogation by Palestinian security forces. Mohammad, Bilal’s brother, was born in 1986 and works as a freelance journalist, was also arrested by Palestinian security forces. He has been arrested more than ten times in addition to being continuously summoned for interrogations by preventive security forces and intelligence forces.
During an Addameer interview with Mohammad, he says that the Palestinian interrogators used all means of torture while interrogating him, both physical and psychological, in order to make him confess to some activities about political affiliation and resisting the occupation. Following Mohammad’s first arrest, on 29 August 2007, he was subjected to intense torture methods: “when they arrested me, all the questions were about my relations with Hamas and the Islamic Block in Al Najah University.
During the first days of detention they put me in a closed room where the torture was basically psychological. The fourth day they started practicing physical torture. They started by making me stand raising my hands upwards and at night they made me sit on a chair and deprived me from sleep. After a week and a half and after I refused to confess to possession of weapons, they sent me to another room and forced me to stand barefoot on stones with sharp edges, in addition to many insults and beatings on all parts my body. Then I was forced to stand in a shape of a cross, the shackles on my hands were too tight which caused my hands to swell and caused my skin to burn.
In 2010 Mohammad was again subjected to torture: “early at night, during the first day, I was beaten heavily on the head, face, and stomach and back for hours, in addition to standing up and raising my hands upwards. I was beaten and kicked for three consecutive days. The interrogator made me stand at a certain distance, and then he swung a pipe hitting my lower back and spine with his feet. He then pressed my face against the wall and started beating me on my back with his hands. He also made me sit in very painful positions for long periods of time.”
Mohammad was also arrested by the IOF forces as a part of the “Swinging” policy between PA forces and IOF. This policy refers to a situation where a person is arrested by the IOF immediately after being released by PA forces, where the IOF interrogate them about the same charges they were interrogated by the PA forces or vice versa. This is what happened with Mohammad when he was arrested on 10 July 2011. He was interrogated for 24 hours in Petah Tikva interrogation center before being released for lack of charges, only to be arrested again by the Preventive security forces in Tubas after only three weeks, where he was interrogated about his detention by IOF. As soon as he entered the center he was placed with a number of prisoners in the cells and was sent to court and prosecution. His detention was extended for 15 days for interrogation purposes and he was accused of stirring religious sectarianism. During interrogation he was subjected to physical torture where he was deprived of sleep, made stand on one foot raising his hands upwards, they also made him lift weights while standing in stressful positions.
Mohammad and Bilal’s stories are only two of many that continue to occur every day as a result of the political division between Fatah and Hamas, which continue to affect the lives of Palestinians that resist the occupation.