Salah Khawaja, a Palestinian paramedic, filed a complaint against the officer whom he claims beat him at the IDF's Maccabim base. The Investigating Military Police (IMP) has been ordered to launch an investigation into the matter.
During an interview with Ynet the paramedic said that on July 13 he was arrested by IDF soldiers during an anti-fence rally in Naalin. Khawaja said that even after he had shown them his medic ID, they insisted on detaining him. "When the residents attempted to prevent my arrest, he shot huge quantities of tear gas at us, until I felt weak and short of breath," he said.
Rather than take him to a hospital for medical treatment, Khawaja said the soldiers drove him to an IDF base in Maccabim. "There they threw me down in the yard and all of the soldiers present, including Officer Miki and Officer Omri, beat me," he continued. "Officer Omri put his shoes on my head, spit on me, beat me all over my body and kept saying as he was laughing, 'You, Khawaja, you pretend to be a paramedic, I'll f*ck you over.'"
The paramedic said he was forced to remain at the base until 1 am without the possibility of going to the bathroom, which forced him to urinate on himself. Afterwards, Khawaja said, he was taken to a clinic at a nearby settlement and then returned to the base. He was then transported to the Binyamin police station, where he could file a complaint, he said.
"The station commanders said I needed to be hospitalized due to my medical condition," Khawaja said. "I was taken from there to Ofer Prison around 4 am, and after prolonged discussions between the soldiers and the prison commanders, who were afraid to leave me in custody due to my medical condition, I was eventually detained by the prison."
'Activists will help me'
Khawaja was released on Monday, and decided to file a complaint against Lt.-Col. Omri. "I wasn't allowed to do so, but I will file a complaint through the volunteers and the Israeli and international peace activists who help us. I won't let Omri and Miki get away with the humiliation they put me through," he said.
The IDF Spokesperson's Office stated that "the incident was investigated and found to be erroneously reported. The complaining Palestinian is a felon and a serial order-violator who takes part in many protests while inciting others on the scene and enticing them to commit illegal acts." Following reports on the matter, the army stated that the IMP would investigate the case more carefully.
A military official further stated that Khawaja had been arrested on suspicion that he had shattered the windshields of a tractor working on the border, and that he had been given the option of release on bail but had opted to remain in custody for a week. The official also said that Khawaja had not reported any improper behavior during his arrest, and that he had not filed a complaint afterwards.