A Palestinian man said on Friday (23 October) he was beaten and kicked by Israeli soldiers before being arrested whilst he was at work earlier this month. Ansar A'asi works at a factory located near a military post in the West Bank. He said that he was at work when clashes erupted nearby between Palestinian youths throwing stones at Israeli troops.
"There was clashes (sic) with schoolchildren. We had goods here which we had imported for the factory so we started putting them inside the storage room. While we were moving the goods inside, the soldiers chased the youths near here and they were running away," he said.
"I was here in this last storage room here and I noticed a soldier running towards me with his rifle aimed at me. I stopped at the door and raised my hands to show that I didn't have anything with me and that I worked here. I was wearing a mask which we use when in the factory. He came directly at me without any question or anything.
"He started beating me and he threw me onto the ground and was joined by another four or five and they were all beating me. They were pulling me out but I held on to the post because I am not guilty and I did not throw any rocks at them," said the 25-year-old.
"Then one more came from outside and he seemed to be an extremist and started beating me with the rifle, which had bruised me from the shoulder to the knee and landed me in the Haddasah (hospital). So when at that point he once again threatened me with a tear gas bomb, I was scared that the storage room and factory might catch fire along with me. So I got scared and they pulled me outside and tied my hands and blindfolded me and took me to the military post," he said.
A'asi said he was told he would spend three months in jail for throwing stones. But his neighbours were able to provide evidence that he was not involved in the trouble and was an innocent bystander.
Israeli rights group B'tselem distributed security camera footage on Friday that appeared to show Israeli soldiers kicking A'asi and using a rifle to beat him while he was lying on a storage room floor, before dragging him outside. The Israeli military said in response that the event was being examined and a preliminary inquiry showed the soldiers had acted in accordance with the army's expected standards.
B'tselem said the incident occurred on 6 October in the West Bank, near where clashes between Palestinians and Israeli troops were taking place, and that the soldiers then arrested the man. The military described the clashes as a "violent riot".