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Testimony: L.A.S.S.


Name:  L.A.S.S.
Age:  16
Date:  12 January 2020
Location:  Hizma, West Bank
Accusation:  Throwing stone/Molotovs

On 12 January 2020, a 16-year-old minor from Hizma was arrested by Israeli soldiers 2:30 a.m. He reports being interrogated after briefly consulting a lawyer via phone but not being informed of his right to silence. 

I woke up at around 2:30 a.m. to the sound of soldiers banging at our front door. My father answered and nine soldiers entered our home. We were all terrified especially my younger sister, who is six-years-old. More soldiers were outside surrounding the house. 
The commander told my father he wanted to arrest me. He told my father to hand me over respectfully otherwise he was going to “smash up the house”. When my father told the commander I was upstairs in my bedroom, the commander and three soldiers came upstairs into my bedroom. A soldier handcuffed me with metal handcuffs behind my back while my parents and siblings watched. The handcuffs were very tight and caused me pain.
The commander told my father he wanted to take me for four days for questioning and then would bring me back. He did not give my parents any documents. Then I was taken outside and a soldier pulled down my hat and covered my eyes before pushing me into the back of a jeep where I sat on the metal floor between the soldiers’ legs. 
The jeep drove a short distance to the entrance of the village and then the commander asked me for my identity card and mobile phone. He yelled at me when I told him they were at home and a soldier slapped me hard.  The jeep turned around and went back to the house and the commander took my identity card and telephone. Then I was taken to a nearby military base.
At the base I was taken to a room and someone brought me a glass of water. I sat on a chair and I was left there until the morning. I could not sleep at all because the soldiers made noises to prevent me from sleeping. At around 7:00 a.m. I was taken to the police station in Binyamin settlement for interrogation. At the police station I waited for about 15 minutes and then I was taken to the interrogation room.
As soon as I entered the interrogation room the interrogator phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me not to speak and not to confess even if they showed me evidence. The interrogator left the room during the conversation which lasted less than two minutes before the line was cut off. 
Then, without informing me of my right to remain silent, the interrogator told me there were confessions against me by other boys and that I had to confess. I told him I had not done anything wrong and challenged him to show me the evidence. He accused me of throwing stones at soldiers in the village and of manufacturing a Molotov cocktail. I denied the accusation. 
He questioned me for about one-and-a-half hours. During this time he left the room and came back multiple times. Then he asked to take my photograph and fingerprints but I refused and he became furious. Then he showed me a document in Hebrew and asked me to sign it but I refused to sign. 
After the interrogation was over I was taken to Ofer prison where I was strip searched. I was told to crouch up and down while naked. Then I was taken to section 19. By then it was around 5:00 p.m. The following day I was taken to Ofer military court. My father and my lawyer attended. The lawyer asked to adjourn the hearing to allow him time to study my file. 
I had about seven military court hearings and at the last one I was sentenced in a plea bargain to three months in prison and fined NIS 4,000. They also made my family deposit an extra NIS 5,000 which they said would keep if I am arrested again for whatever reason during the next five years. 
I accepted the plea bargain because the conditions in Ofer prison were terrible. Because of the Corona Virus we were not allowed to leave our cells except once a day instead of as many times as we wanted every half-an-hour. We were not allowed to buy from the canteen except once a day and we could not exercise. I spent most of my time reading and praying. I had no family visits and no phone calls. 
I was released on 8 April 2020 and I went home with my cousin and father. I arrived home at around noon.