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Affidavit No. 6402/2011

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, Muhammad ‘Oda Hasan al-Hmeidi, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 929451847, born on 18 January 1960, unemployed, and a resident of Wadi al- Salqa village, east of Deir al-Balah city, Central Gaza governorate, would like to declare the following:

My name is Muhammad ‘Oda Hasan al-Hmeidi. I am 51 years old, married, and a father of five sons and three daughters. I live with my family in a one-storey house in Wadi al-Salqa village, east of Deir al-Balah city in the central Gaza governorate. Our house is comprised of a concrete basement that is built on a 70-square-metre area. There are also two rooms with zinc plate roofs that are constructed on the roof of the house.

At around 5:30 am on Friday, 3 June 2011, I was asleep in my room which is located in the basement of the house. I got up in a panic after the room’s glass window was suddenly broken and was surprised to find two people inside the room. They were dressed in the Special Police uniform (blue camouflage) and carried Kalashnikov rifles. I asked them what was going on and repeated the question several times, but they did not talk to me. Instead, they blindfolded me, tied my hands behind my back with plastic handcuffs, forced me out of the house, and put me in a car that was parked near the house. While I was being taken to the car, I saw a number of Police officers, as well as other people in civilian clothes, from underneath the blindfold.. The people in civilian clothes carried weapons and surrounded the house. I also saw a person who took photographs of the house using a camera. While I was in the car, which remained parked in front of my house for almost 20 minutes, they brought my sons Hasan (24 years old), Ibrahim (19 years old), Bilal (13 years old), and my son-in-law Mousa Abu-Sousin, (30 years old) and put them all in the car. I knew this by listening to their conversation with the Police officers. The car drove for about 15 minutes and then stopped. After they forced me down, they removed the blindfold from my eyes. However, my hands continued to be tied up. I realised that I was in the Anti-Drug Police station near al-Manfalouti School east of al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah city. They detained me inside a large room, measuring approximately 6 x 8 metres. They ordered me to stand up and turn my face to the wall. My sons Ibrahim and Bilal, as well as another 15 residents of my area, were also detained with me in the same room. They were all handcuffed and stood in the same manner. They detained my son Hasan in an adjacent room.

The other detainees and I kept standing for about an hour and a half. Meanwhile, I heard my son Hasan scream as he was being beaten and tortured in the adjacent room. I heard a Police officer speaking to my son, “are you threatening me? Show me what you have?” I hear my son reply” I swear to God, I am not threatening you. I swear I do not have anything,”

This situation lasted for almost 15 minutes, after which, they demanded that we sit on the ground. At that time, I did not know anything about my son Hasan, nor could I hear his voice any more.

Almost an hour and a half later, a Police officer arrived and told me that my son had an epileptic attack and hit his head against a wall. I replied that my son was in good health and did not suffer from any diseases. The Police officer repeated his statement several times loudly. I asked him about what happened to my son, but he did not answer and left the room. I continued to be detained in the same place without knowing what had happened to my son. About half an hour later, another Police officer came in and told me that my son had been transported to al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, which was approximately 300 metres west of the Police headquarters. He requested that I accompany him to check on my son. He took me to the Hospital on a motorcycle. There, I saw my son being treated in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). He was in critical condition and was in a coma. I saw visible scars and bruises on his face, arms and legs. Having asked about my son, a doctor told me that he was in critical condition and that he suffered from brain haemorrhage after receiving a blow to his head. He told me that my son needs to be transferred to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. Five minutes later, the Police officer took me back to the Police headquarters. There, I heard Police officers repeat that my son suffered from epilepsy and that he hit his head against a wall. Almost 15 minutes later, they released me along with my sons Ibrahim and Bilal. We all returned home.

I should note that the Police did not interrogate or investigate me on any subject nor was I beaten during the period of my detention. I was simply forced to stand in the same place while being handcuffed until I was finally released.

After I came back home, I went to al-Shifa Hospital. Doctors informed me that my son Hasan was still in the ICU. When I visited him, I saw three Police officers standing outside his room’s door. I thought they were assigned to guard my son but they prevented me from seeing my son.

I tried to visit him later on two different occasions, one on Saturday 4 June 2011 and another on Sunday 5 June 2011, but the Police officers prevented me from doing so both times. I managed to visit him once in the company of a doctor. I saw my son lying on a bed, with devices connected to him. The doctor told me that my son suffered from bleeding in the brain and that he was in very critical condition.

At around 12:00 pm on Saturday, 11 June 2011, my son ‘Ali, who had visited his brother, told me that Hasan had passed away. The doctor told ‘Ali that Hasan had died late at night on Friday, 10 June 2011. I immediately went to the hospital along with a number of my relatives. There I saw my son in the mortuary. I was surprised that they had performed an autopsy on his body without informing us and without our consent. I asked the medical examiner why he conducted the autopsy without our knowledge, but he told me that he did it upon an order from the Public Prosecution. I inquired about the results of autopsy, but he did not answer me. He said that I could obtain the medical report after one week.

I then received my son’s corpse. The scars and bruises were still visible on his face, arms and legs. I also saw a bruise on top of the forehead as well as an opening of about 15 centimetres in diameter on the back of the head. Members of my family and I buried my son’s body in Wadi al- Salqa cemetery in the area where I live. We refused to open our home for receiving condolences until we were given the autopsy results and find out the reason of my son’s death.

My son Hasan lived in a house near mine. He was married and the father to one daughter, Jana, who is two months old. He was arrested while he was in good health. He did not suffer from any diseases.

 

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: Affidavit No. 6402/2011
  • Field researcher: Tariq Zaqout
  • Affidavit Date: 13 June 2011
  • Name: Muhammad al-Hmeidi