Case Study: The Al-Khader
The following nine men stand accused in a number
of murder cases: File number 529/96 Palestine vs. :
- Hussein Ya'akub Dadoa (age 36), arrested on
- Ja'afar Ya'akub Dadoa (age 26), arrested on
- Ahmed Shokat Salah (age 25), arrested on
- Ahmed Mahmoud Mohammed (age 25), arrested on
- Ja'afar Mahmoud Sabah (age 27), arrested on
- Nabil Mahmoud Salah (age 25), arrested on
- Ali Ahmed Ghneim (age 25) arrested on 11/5/96
- Nassar Khalil Issa (age 26) arrested on
- Imad Youssuf Musa (age 25) arrested on 11/5/96
The charge: Pre-meditated murder.
B. A'adel Sabih Murdered
On 7/12/95 (two weeks before the arrival of the
PA), the mukhtar of Al-Khader village was murdered. After the entrance of
the PA to Bethlehem, the family of the mukhtar filed a complaint for the
murder of Sabih.
The family and the PA brought a sheikh from Zeita village in the Tulkarm
district. The Sheikh used fortune telling methods and 'discovered' the
names of the people who murdered A'adel Sabih.
The Military Intelligence division in Bethlehem, led by Colonel W.
arrested nine young men from the village in May 1996. They were
interrogated for three months. During this time they were mistreated (as
detailed below) and were not allowed to receive visits from family members
or lawyers. The young men confessed to seven murders. The confessions were
Imad said "...I was naked without clothes and my hands were tied. I was
tied to a small metal chair and a few men started to beat me all over my
body with batons and whipping me with cables and pieces of metal. They put
cigarettes out on my flesh." W. entered the room and started to curse me
and threaten to kill me entire family, and then he told the men beating me
to stick the police baton in my rectum."
"On my head there was a sack that was dirty with mud. Then they took it
off and forced my head into a toilet. They forced me to drink from the
Ahmed Shawki Salahat said "They put me into a room with other prisoners at
dawn and the investigators told the other prisoners to 'get up - here is
the meat.' The prisoners got up - I don't remember how many there were -
and started to beat me all over my body.
"The next day in the cell, on the second day I was taken to Al-Wahidi's
office where they took my clothes off and tried to rape me but my screams
prevented them and Al-Wahidi told them to take me to the "slaughter house"
where I was tie to a ladder by my hands and feet, and they inserted a
baton into my rectum. At that moment I signed the confession."
Ali Ghniem said in his testimony "...The biggest crime I encountered was
when I was beaten severely to confess to killing a man I never knew at
all, and when I confessed and signed the confession after a short time,
the interrogators came to me and said, forget it, your confession is
canceled. When my family heard about the tortures I was going through and
asked the Bethlehem prosecutor to transfer me to the Jericho prison, Al-Wahidi
threatened me and forced me to sign a paper (together with others) in
which we decline our transfer to Jericho prison." Ja'afar Dadoa said "In
addition to all the cruel methods of torture there were used against us,
we were photographed with a video camera and told that if we don't
confess, these pictures will be shown on Palestine television and the
Nabil Salah said "...They asked me to testify against some of my friends
who were arrested for the murder of A'adel Sabih. I told them that at the
time of the murder I was in Beer Sheba prison sentenced for six years for
using drugs. The investigators said don't worry, we'll take care of it,
just confess. I refused, they tortured me severely and then I did
everything they asked."
C. The Charges
On December 5 charges were filed against the nine
defendants. The charge sheet was written by the Bethlehem prosecutor Ahmed
On 28/4/93 the first, second, third, fourth,
fifth, seventh, and eighth defendants murdered the deceased Mahmoud Ahmed
Mahmoud Shahin from Artas village in Bethlehem district according to
orders received from an Israeli Shabak agent named Morris. All of them
opened with automatic fire on the deceased while he was standing by his
house in the afternoon. The defendants were in two vehicles and they were
masked before and during the crime.
On 28/4/93 Mahmoud Shahin was indeed murdered by a group of masked men -
who belonged to the Israeli undercover units operating at the time. The
IDF Spokesman's office made the following announcement:
"An Arab resident was killed and two other wounded, one medium and the
other lightly, as a result of fire from IDF soldiers. Tonight at around
20:00 an incident occurred while IDF forces were on assignment in the
village Artas near Bethlehem. The unit encountered a number of stone
throwing residents, and the soldiers responded with fire. AS a result a
man was killed and two others wounded. A curfew has been placed on the
village and on Dheisha Refugee Camp. The incident is being investigated."
Bassem Eid was the B'Tselem investigator for this case and has testimonies
related to it. It is clear to every resident of Artas that Mahmoud Shahin
was killed by soldiers from an Israeli undercover unit.
On 9/10/91 the first, third, fourth, fifth,
seventh, and eighth defendants murdered Issal Khalil Salah with
premeditation in the village of Al-Khader after being told to do so by an
Israeli Shabak agent named Morris. The defendants opened fire on the
deceased with automatic rifles while he was spraypainting graffiti on a
wall in his village.
On 10/10/91 the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot published the following
article: "Issa Khalil Salah (18) resident of Al-Khader village near
Bethlehem was killed yesterday by IDF soldiers during a pursuit after a
group of masked people. The IDF is conducting an investigation into the
circumstances of this incident."
On 28/7/94 the first, second, third, and seventh
defendants murdered Suhair Ya'akub Dadoa following a request by the Shabak
According to the testimony of village residents, Suhair committed suicide
as a result of problems with her husband. Her death was the result of
drinking poison in front of her husband's family. They testified that this
was the case before the prosecutor.
On 25/10/93 the first, third, fifth, sixth,
seventh, and ninth defendants killed Mahmoud Ya'akub Salah as he left his
home in Al-Khader on his way to prayer at the mosque. All this was done on
the request of Shabak agent Captain Morris.
Defendant six has a document from the Red Cross stating that he was a
prisoner in Israeli hands from 28/8/91 to 2/3/94. It is signed by Mrs.
Xavier Tschum, delegate of the ICRC in Jerusalem.
On the February 7, Freih Abu-Medien told the
Legislative Council in Bethlehem that these people would be released
within 48 hours because they are completely innocent. The trial began on
April 13, and will be continued on the 22 of June.
In the meantime, the nine remain in Jericho prison.
hey are completely innocent. The trial began on
April 13, and will be continued on the 22 of June.