Sunday 25 January 2015

“This is for Atif”

Last week, Rami was arrested documenting an IDF raid on a Palestinian home (see blog below), on the 23rd January, he was arrested and badly beaten for filming the weekly demo against the wall after Friday prayer.

Rami informed us that after arriving at the Friday demo next to the wall in Bethany, he was told to leave by IDF soldiers. “They called me many times by my name” Rami told us “they know me and target me”. Rami followed their instructions and left, returning to his shop.

He went on to tell us that having returned to his shop, an IDF soldier who called Rami over, tied his hands behind his back and started to beat him. Soon, “around 10 soldiers came over and started to beat me, I felt like I was leaving this life”. After 10 minutes of being kicked by soldiers Rami told us that “a solider said I tried to hit a soldier and then said I tried to escape”. Rami responded to the solider by asking “why would I try to escape? I’m working, I’m a journalist.” This, Rami claimed, led to a further and harder beating. During his beating, Rami told us that the IDF soldiers said “This is a message from Atif, this is from Atif” and reminded Rami that “you did something wrong to a big guy so you have to bear this”.

Rami explained to us that Atif was one of the soldiers identified in the footage of the Israeli soldiers beating up and filming a 13-year old boy last year (see our previous blog below). Rami told us that Atif is a senior officer or even commander in Abu Dis and the surrounding towns. Following Rami’s exposure last year which according to one Israeli soldier “made us look like beasts”, Rami has been targeted and this was retaliation for making their senior office “look bad”.

Following the battering, they arrested Rami, transported him to Ma’aliadumeem police station, charged him and after 6 hours, released him after he paid a 2000 shekels bail charge. On the 22nd August he must attend a second military court on charges of ‘disturbing a soldier’.


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