Torture for Fun

Afif Al-Bargoothi, 31, from Adoud village of north-east Ramallah, will never forget the 30 hour long torture and humiliation he suffered while attempting to pass through Qalandia military check point.

When I met him at Ramallah Governmental Hospital, his body was covered with bruises and skin burns. Afif told us what happened at Qalandia military check point.

Early Monday morning, on his way from Ramallah to the Alram neighborhood just north of Jerusalem, Afif needed to cross the military check point near Qalandia airport. Similar to others, he was queued in a row waiting for his turn to be checked.

After one hour, he became first in the row and handed his ID to the Israeli soldier. As the soldier looked at his ID, he accused Afif of being the body guard of jailed Fatah leader, Marwan Al-Bargouthi.

Afif answered “I am not one of Marwan Al-Bargoothi’s body guards, I am not even related to him, he is from Coober village and I am from Aboud “.

Afif was asked to wait until his identity was checked with Israeli security. After a short time, another soldier approached Afif, blinded his eyes and took him to a nearby hill close to the airport.

Afif said, “Apparently I was placed in an area used by soldiers to commute between the check point and their military base inside Qalandia airport. Soldiers passing by repeatedly attacked me using their hands, legs, and the back of their guns.”

Things got even worse when it became dark. Afif said “as it became dark, soldiers started using sticks to beat me all over my body. A few of them burned my skin with their cigarettes.”

Afif’s suffering continued until 4:00 PM the next day when a soldier approached him, inquired with his superiors about his identity, and then freed him.

Afif called his friend who is a lawyer, Khalid Qermaz, who brought him to Ramallah Governmental Hospital for medical treatment.

Qermaz said, “It is the worst act I have ever seen in my life; Afif will never forget what he went through. He needs to stay at home for 10 days at least for his wounds to heal. I doubt there will be any way to heal his soul.”

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