Monday, 23 April 2012

One boy’s story: Palestinian-Cuban teen kidnapped in night raid, abused by Israeli army

By Ali Abunimah The Electronic Intifada 

On April 18, during the night, about 200 Israeli occupation soldiers descended on the village of Burin, south of Nablus in the occupied West Bank, arresting 10 teenage boys. One of them is a 17 year-old Palestinian-Cuban high school senior called Qais Bilal Muhammad Omran... ...Qais, his mother told me, is a studious boy who has never been in trouble. He is musical and plays the organ – so well that he earns extra money performing at weddings and parties. He plans to study music after graduating from high school.

Seized in the middle of the night

Ms. Portocarrero told me that at about 2.30 AM dozens of soldiers came to the house, demanding Qais. At first, the family thought they meant an older relative, who is also called Qais. In any case, Qais Bilal Muhammad Omran wasn’t home. “He was sleeping at his grandfather’s house,” his mother said, “He and his cousin are both studying for their high school exams, and when they study late, sometimes they sleep here and sometimes they sleep there.” The soldiers demanded to be taken over to the grandfather’s house, and when they found Qais, they handcuffed him and took him away.

Cuffed, blindfolded, abused and threatened with guns 

This is what happened next, according to an account Qais gave to Addameer’s lawyer, who visited the teen in detention: The Israeli forces made him walk to the nearest settlement [about 2 kms] with his hands shackled, and also forced him to run. There were about 15 soldiers and another detainee from the same village walking with him. He reported that they tried to scare him multiple times by yelling at him and continuously insulting him. They also tightened the shackles and played with their guns around him and near his head.

One of the soldiers was yelling in Arabic: “Shoot, shoot”. After spending half an hour in the settlement, they transferred him to Howara in a military jeep, where they made him sit in a painful manner. They put him in a room and didn’t allow him to go to the bathroom, drink water or eat. He was sent to interrogation in Salem. The interrogator tried to pressure him into confessing that he was throwing rocks but he denied it. In Salem, they kept him in a room with 14 other prisoners from 8am till 2pm (water, food and bathroom were not allowed). He’s now being held in Megiddo and in interrogation in Salem. more

Israeli court rejects hunger-strikers detention appeal

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- An Israeli military court refused an appeal by long-term hunger-strikers Thaer Halahla and Bilal Diyab to end their detention without charge, prisoners groups said Monday.

Muhjat al-Quds society for the defense of prisoners said Ofer military court rejected the appeal against the prisoners administrative detention, on the 56th day of their hunger-strike.

Lawyer Jamil Khatib will now take their petitions to Israel's Supreme Court, Addameer Director Sahar Francis told Ma'an. The Sunday rulings show the negotiations to end the prisoners' hunger strike have failed, as they refused Israel's suggestion to deport them to Gaza, she added. more