27 October 2015

Another Violent Attack on a Palestinian by the Israeli Occupation Forces Goes Unpunished

Video of brutal and wrongful arrest

Annie Robbins on October 24, 2015

Soldiers beat Ansar Aasi, 25. el-Bireh, Palestine Oct.6, 2015

At 1:15 p.m. on the afternoon of October 6, Ansar Aasi, 25, was stocking supplies at the cleaning products company where he was employed in al-Bireh, a Palestinian city adjacent to Ramallah. Watch at 22 seconds into the video, as Aasi begins to exit the warehouse; taking one step onto the street he then cautiously retreats into the enclosed storage facility. Pensively he waits and watches the street. Ten seconds later Aasi raises his open palms. He has been spotted and targeted for arrest by Israeli soldiers ostensibly on the hunt for Palestinian stone throwers. In the scene that follows Aasi is violently mauled by a group of soldiers as one stands guard outside.

By 55 seconds, four soldiers are inside the warehouse with Aasi and one outside. Aasi is offscreen with one of those soldiers – backed into a corner – we can’t see him. At 1:21 two of the soldiers are offscreen with Aasi as a 5th soldier enters the warehouse. At 1:36 the sixth soldier enters. By 2:09 one of the soldiers pulls another soldier off Aasi — but it is not clear why nor what the soldiers are doing huddled around Aasi’s form. Aasi’s leg is seen protruding from the mass and a soldier is yanking at it and then begins kicking him at 2:43. At least 4 soldiers are offscreen and they drag Aasi out by the legs. One soldier snaps a photo, another rams his rifle into Aasi (4:26) 6 or 7 times as he squirms on the ground. Another soldier kicks Aasi in the head repeatedly.

The next day Ansar ‘Aasi was admitted into Hadassah Ein Karem hospital for treatment of wounds he sustained. In total he spent 5 days incarcerated before he was released.

‘Aasi was held in detention for two days before even being taken for interrogation at the Binyamin police station. Police interrogators there told him that three soldiers identified him as a stone thrower. In spite of his denials, the police did not bother to check his alibi claim, in spite of the existence of footage. Only following an arrest extension hearing at the Ofer military court, was the police willing to view the footage, which was brought to them on Friday, 9.10.2015. ‘Aasi was released unconditionally on Sunday, 11.10, after five days in wrongful detention.

B’Tselem does not know whether the soldiers who arrested ‘Aasi were held accountable for assaulting him and making up false charges.

And yet, Aasi is a lucky guy. Why? Because the day before, in another case of ‘mistaken identity’, Israeli forces shot 13-year-old Abed Obeidallah in the chest, killing him almost instantly. Because Aasi’s violent arrest and abduction, caught on camera, confirmed his alibi. How rare, how rare indeed.

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