On Monday night at 9pm, twelve Israeli jeeps stormed into the West Bank village of Qusin firing live ammunition, rubber bullets, tear gas and sound bombs. All men in the village between the ages of fifteen and forty were brought to the playground of the local school. The army took pictures of all the older men whilst interrogating the teenagers, looking for “wanted” children who had thrown stones at the armoured jeeps. At one point, a soldier held a knife to the throat of a twelve year old boy and threatened to kill him. After three hours the army arrested two sixteen year old boys, Hassan Fachri and Ali Nayef, releasing everybody else.
The two boys were handcuffed, blindfolded and taken to Keddemim police station, where they were tortured for seven hours before being released. They were held together in a small filthy cell, blindfolded and denied food and water. Hassan was denied access to the toilet facilities. Both were prevented from sleeping by soldiers who stood behind them cocking their guns, yelling death threats at them. The boys were badly beaten throughout the ordeal, receiving punches to the face and kicks from the soldiers. At 3am Hassan was thrown outside into the freezing rain for some time.
Ali signed legal papers under coercion. He believes that the papers are a contract not to throw stones, and that the penalty for breach is a five year jail term. However, Hassan signed similar papers in July 2007 after being arrested for attending a non-violent demonstration, and is now being penalised despite lack of breach. His father’s permission to work in Israel has now been confiscated and he has been fined 5,000 NIS.
During Hassan’s first arrest he also received severe treatment by the Israeli army. He was held for three days in Keddemim, and only given two meals throughout. His arms were tied behind his back while he was beaten to such a severe degree that he suffered head trauma and a dislocated elbow.
The boys were finally released at 7am Tuesday morning, warning Ali as he left that if he were to be caught throwing stones, the army would evict the 1,500 residents of Quisin from the village, closing the road from 9pm until the following morning. The army kept Hassan’s ID card and so far have not given it back. The army never returned his ID after his first arrest.