11 February 2014
PALESTINE: Border Police detain, humiliate and arrest men trying to go to Friday prayers; CPTer’s camera taken.
On 7 February 2014, CPTers went to the routine Friday mosque patrol around prayer time. Often during Friday prayers, Israeli Border police will take the IDs of young Palestinian men while they going into the Ibrahimi Mosque, check to see if they have any outstanding warrants and then return the IDs when the men come out of the mosque. This Friday, however, Border Police were not allowing the men to go to the mosque while they were checking the IDs.
When CPTers called members of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), TIPH personnel told them that Border Police were detaining men at several H-2 checkpoints. The CPTers decided to look at Checkpoint 29 and found Border Police detaining twenty to thirty men there. Several of them were quite angry because of the way the Border Police had been treating them. Other men were trying to calm the situation. When one man, after realizing he was going to miss prayers at the mosque, began to lay his prayer rug on the ground to pray at the checkpoint, one of the Border Police shoved him against a wall, which really enraged several people in the crowd.
Soldiers pepper-sprayed a boy who appeared to be about eleven or twelve and an older man, who was later hospitalized. The boy passed out and was taken down the hill to a shop. Additional soldiers arrived and began deploying sound bombs and teargas. Police arrested eight men.
Video of Border Police pepperspraying man
After the police took away the men they had arrested, CPTers remained in the area because of the heavy soldier and Border police presence. Civilian police approached one and asked for his passport and his camera. They insisted on taking his camera to the police station and he accompanied it. While he was at the police station, they asked him questions about what he had witnessed, periodically coming out of a room and telling another CPTer that “your friend isn’t arrested; he is just giving testimony.”
As of this writing, six of the men arrested on Friday have been released, while two are still in custody.