Get off the bus, you will stay here!
September 8, 2003 was the hardest day in Raami’s imprisonment experience, and it was a painful day for his family, fiancée, fellow prisoners and even his jailers.
Rami described this situation saying, “We were following the developments of the exchange deal between the occupation government and Hezbollah that involved returning the corpses of three Zionist soldiers in addition to Officer El Hanan TenenBaum in exchange for the Arab prisoners and some Palestinian captives including me. I was disinterested at the beginning and told my family not to believe anything until I had verified it myself.”
Raami was serving as the prisoners’ representative with the Negev prison administration and this enabled him to contact well-informed officials and officers who confirmed the information.
“On the night of release, and specifically at 9 PM, an officer came and informed me officially that I would be released the next day. I immediately told my family, who were as happy with the news as I was,” Rami said.
Raami spent that night with his brothers in Negev prison bidding them farewell and raising their morale. It was really hard for him to leave them after those long years and after he had spent his best days with them, when they used to eat, sleep, and experience joys and sorrows together. His life was shared with theirs down to the details.
Raami says, “At 7:30 AM, the buses started arriving and we left one after another and I was the last one. Since I was known to the officers of the prison, the warden came to me in the company of the Leader of the Southern Region in the Zionist army and introduced him to me and then I got on the bus. The doors were closed and we were asked to un-cuff ourselves. Then, they gave us our personal items, and I felt that I had become free.”
“During these tense anxious moments, the doors of the bus were suddenly opened and a female soldier working in the prison who knows me well headed to me frowning and said ‘Raami… I have bad news, you will not go home!’”
“At first, I did not believe her and thought that she was joking with me. I said to her, ‘Is this a movie? Or is it a joke?’”
She told Raami that it was neither a movie nor a joke and that she did not joke in situations like these. “She asked me to get off the bus. They cuffed me again and carried my personal items and I left the bus.”
However, Raami still believed that this was some kind of bad joke.
Raami said, “When I left the bus, my colleagues and I were shocked, but when the buses moved, on their way to the West Bank, I realized that it was real and that I would stay in prison. When I returned, all the captives were stunned and the scene was very emotional. They all started making Takbeer and shaking the nets. They were outraged at this disrespect for our feelings. The sadness was overwhelming.”
Raami continues, “These were very confusing and difficult moments. I do not know how would I tell my mother or my fiancée who were waiting for me in front of Ofar Prison, where released prisoners from Ramallah would arrive. I had to tell them. So I called my parents and told them; and you can not imagine how difficult this situation was.”
Raami tried to find out the causes of this arbitrary measure, and he came to know from legal sources that the so-called Terror Victims Association had made an appeal to the high court against his release, so his release was postponed for consideration of the petition.
I found out later that some of the traitors and spies of Shabak and Mossad who had sold their homeland, their religion and their people at a cheap price, and whom I had exposed in prison, were behind this mean act. After that, Raami was transferred to the separation divisions in prisons of Beersheba, Nafha and finally Rimonim, where he was released on August 21, 2004. He emerged to narrate the story of his painful prison experience, because a prison is a prison even if it is made of gold. Loss of freedom is very difficult and the feeling that the door is closed and even the mere wish to go out of the door is impossible; is unbearable…it is suppression incarnate.