When Cell Phones Attack

On 26 August 2006, soldiers detained Tha’ir Muhsen, 18, from a-Neqora, a village near Nablus , while he was on his way home after registering at a-Najah University , in Nablus .

The soldiers sat him down next to another Palestinian who had been detained. The other fellow told Muhsen that the soldiers had beaten him. When one of the soldiers threw a stick to another soldier present, the other detainee fled. The soldiers chased him but returned empty- handed. They then began to abuse Muhsen.

The maltreatment lasted for about two hours, during which time the soldiers beat him over his whole body with their hands, sticks, and stones, kicked him, pulled his hair, and threw him to the ground. Muhsen lost consciousness. When he regained consciousness, the abuse continued. Among other kinds of abuse, one of soldiers practiced karate kicks to Muhsen’s head while the other soldier held Muhsen in place.

At some time during the events, one of the soldier’s took Muhsen’s cell phone and photographed two of the soldiers who beat Muhsen.

In his testimony to B’Tselem, Muhsen described how, toward the end of the abusive treatment, the soldiers made a circle on the ground and ordered him to crouch inside it.

“I tried to sit down, but I was really dizzy… I barely managed to sit down inside the circle, as he demanded. I felt as if I were rocking back and forth and was about to fall…. another soldier gave him a rifle, and he aimed it at me. He put the barrel of the rifle to my head a few times and cocked the trigger. He laughed and said, “I am going to come to your house tonight and arrest you.” He spoke in Hebrew, and the soldier who took the cell phone translated and said to me, “Do everything that the officer says.” He was referring to the soldier who beat me with the stick and aimed the rifle at me. Afterwards, the officer gave the rifle to the soldier who translated, moved back a few meters, ran toward me and kicked me in the head. He did this a few times, as if my head were a ball in a game. Then the officer grabbed my head and slammed it into the armored vehicle and went away.”

Two days later, after he gained some strength, Tha’ir filed a complaint at the army liaison office and gave the soldiers there a copy of the photo that the soldiers took with his cell phone. [read more]

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