Singer kidnapped and beaten by gunmen
|Palestinian singer Khalid Faraj was kidnapped, beaten up, and thrown in a field in Gaza by unidentified gunmen
By SKeyes-Gaza, Center for Media and Cultural Freedom
28-year-old Palestinian singer Khalid Faraj was kidnapped at midnight on Monday 19 October 2009 at the entrance of An-Nafaq Street in Gaza City by unidentified gunmen riding a VW Golf while he was returning home with his band after a wedding party north of the Gaza Strip.
The gunmen intercepted the small bus that was carrying the singer and the six musicians, raising their guns in their faces and warning them against getting close to the singer. They pulled out Faraj from the bus, covered him in a black bag, and took the bus key. One of the men hit the singer on the head with the butt of a gun before they put him inside their car and sped away.
However, the band members managed to follow the car and kept on chasing it until they came across a police car that helped them trace the kidnappers. Around twenty minutes later, they found the singer lying in a field with extensive injuries and wounds as a result of the beatings, kicking, hitting with the butt of guns (around 10 head wounds, 9 leg wounds, and 20 other wounds in various places on the body, especially the hands and back). They carried him to Al Shifa hospital where he received appropriate treatment and is still recuperating.
A close source to Khalid Faraj told SKeyes that the singer had been the target of many attempts in the past to silence him and prevent him from singing and holding concerts. He accused “unidentified extremist parties of assaulting him and stealing his personal belongings, namely his cell phone and wallet”.
Moreover, masked unidentified gunmen had also barbarically beaten up popular Palestinian artist Salah al Qishawi at midnight on October 14th, in the same An-Nafaq region upon his return from a concert in the region. His hands and feet were seriously wounded and he was immediately carried to hospital for treatment. He filed an official complaint with the police.
SKeyes denounces such barbaric attacks against Palestinian artists in Gaza by “masked gunmen” and their escalation in order to spread terror. It asks the security apparatus in the Gaza Strip to work seriously and swiftly to end the series of programmed and open attacks, especially that the attacks took place in the same location in front of eyewitnesses – with a great deal of evidence and data that could help in a serious investigation to reveal the culprits and try them. Also, SKeyes is deeply concerned about the future of personal and public freedoms in the Strip through the limitations on culture and arts, as is the case with the prevention of women from taking part in folkloric dabke dances in public theaters with a forcedly signed commitment by the dance troupe directors.
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