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Affidavit No. 4361/2008

Sworn Statement

After having been warned to tell the truth and nothing but the truth or else I shall be subjected to penal action, I, the undersigned, Maher ‘Abdallah Ramadan Mahdi, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 924692650, born on 24 June 1966, a secretary at the al-Nuseirat Martyrs Secondary School (A) and a resident of the al-Nuseirat refugee camp, Central Gaza Governorate, would like to declare the following:

At about 11:45 am on Monday, 25 August 2008, a number of Internal Security officers were dispatched to my house in Block C, in the al-Nuseirat refugee camp and handed to my son a summons, stating that I should report to the Internal Security Headquarters in Deir al-Balah. I did this immediately after I received the summons. When I arrived, a person requested that I hand over my personal possessions. He then led me into a cell, measuring two x three square metres. Inside the cell were five teachers, including Mr. Salem al-Masdar, principal of the al-Manfalouti Secondary Boys School (B) in Deir al Balah; Mr. Khalil Abu-Khalil, a 45-year-old resident of the al-Nuseirat refugee camp; and Mr. Sabri Hammad, 53-year-old resident of the 'Ein-Jalout Towers in the al-Nuseirat refugee camp. We were kept in the cell for about an hour. A person then arrived and ordered Khalil Abu-Khalil and I to accompany him.

He led us into a room, which I knew was an interrogation office, and ordered us to sit down on chairs. Inside the room, I saw two people in civilian clothes. One, who seemed to be the interrogator, sat at a desk and the other was beside him. The person sitting at the desk started to interrogate us about the strike, which the Teachers General Union had declared, and the reason why we did not attend school. He tried to convince us to return to work and attend our schools. During the interrogation, Mr. Khalil Abu-Khalil quarrelled with the person sitting beside the interrogator after Abu-Khalil rejected threats made by the interrogator during the investigation. He threatened us with Shabeh, beatings and torture if we did not comply with his orders. We were interrogated for about an hour.

A person arrived and led us to another room, which measured three x three square metres, and had a window, which measured approximately 90 x 70 centimetres. Half of this window was covered with a leather curtain which obstructed ventilation, so the temperature in the room was very high. In this room, I could see Mr. Sabri Hammad and the other teachers. I found out that they were transferred to this room about 15 minutes before us. We were kept in this room for about 20 minutes.

Then, a person arrived and led us into another room, which measured one x one square metres and five metres in height. It was separated from an adjacent cell with iron bars. They ordered us to stand about 20 centimetres away from a wall and raise our arms. This lasted for about 4 hours. Meanwhile, I heard Mr. Salem al-Masdar say he was sick and suffered from disorders in his heart. I also heard him demand treatment. However, they rejected his demands, punched him and verbally abused him. Then, they moved us to the first room, in which they had first detained us. We spent the night there. All night long, Mr. Sabri Hammad suffered short breath and felt as if he was suffocating and could not sleep. My demand that they offer him first aid treatment was fruitless. At about 10:00 am, Sabri's health condition deteriorated; he fell on the ground and fainted. Two people arrived and attempted to lift him to his feet. "The man is almost dead. Take him to hospital," I protested.

They ordered me to transport him to a Magnum jeep that was parked in the Headquarters yard. The jeep took him away. Then, they summoned me to interrogation. The interrogator forced me to sign a pledge to attend school. He also threatened to arrest, beat and torture me during the period of the strike in case I did not agree. At about 11:00 am on Tuesday, 26 August 2008, they released me. I immediately went to al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital to see Sabri. The doctors told me that he was being treated at the intensive care unit. I saw two Policemen stand at the door and they did not allow me to get in. I also had a medical examination at the hospital. Doctors told me to rest for 48 hours. Then, I went back to my house.

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 4361/2008
  • Field researcher: Tariq Zaqout
  • Affidavit Date: 26 August 2008
  • Name: Maher ‘Abdallah Ramadan Mahdi