I’m sending an email I received from Riad on 12 January 2016 about the recent of Amro his 15 year old son and notes I took from a Skype call I had with Riad on 11 January. I’ve made minor changes to his spelling and grammar.
Greetings from Palestine
On Sunday 10th Jan I went to O’fer prison to see Amro in the military court and in same day my wife went to visit my son Noor who is in the same prison. Amro is still strong and sends regards to you. He told me that the Israeli soldiers had beaten him on his nose and threatened him through the investigation to force him to confess and they told him if you don’t confess we are planning to arrest you, your father and your brothers. Amro decided to talk and he confessed that he threw 2 stones to close his file and to protect his family (which he didn’t do in reality). Anyway they adjourned the Court Hearing to this Thursday in order to see how Amro’s lawyer can use all the information which Amro told him in his legal defence
All the best
In addition to what Riad wrote above he told me that there’d been 2 occasions before 2 January when Israeli soldiers came to the family home for Amro who’s 15 years old. These were on 2 November and 2 December 2015. Riad said that the raids always took place early in the morning and involved at least 30 soldiers. Riad told me that on 2 January the soldiers broke down doors to enter the home, were very aggressive, swearing at him and his wife and pushing them with both younger children present. They had to watch Amro being placed on the floor and having his arms secured behind his back before he was taken away. Tariq who is the youngest child was very distressed by the event.
Riad said that Amro had expected to be arrested on 2 January and told him that this was the day the soldiers usually visited the home. He’d stayed with relative before the arrest to prepare for his final exam in English and receive extra tuition. Riad is worried if Amro isn’t released quickly he’ll miss important exams.
Riad said that when he saw Amro on 10 January he’d clearly been beaten, with bruises on his face and damage to his nose. Otherwise he said he was fine and sent best wishes to everyone. Riad’s been advised by Amro’s lawyer that it may be possible for Amro to plead guilty to the offence of throwing 2 stones in Court on 14 January even though Amro has told him this is untrue. He’ll be fined if it works, the case closed and he’ll be released. While Riad is troubled by Amro admitting to the offences he understands why Amro wants to do so to close the case and be released. Riad has heard that other young people and their parents face similar dilemmas in the Courts.
I asked Riad how they’re coping with the latest events. He told me that their experience isn’t unusual and to carry on using ‘Summud, a deep determination to continue opposing the Israeli occupation and maintains his support of passive resistance to the oppression. Riad sends his best wishes to all who know him.