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Testimony: H.H.D.

Name: H.H.D.
Age: 17 years
Date of incident: 12 March 2014
Location: Beit Fajjar, West Bank
Accusation: Firing at a settlement
On 12 March 2014, a 17-year-old boy from Beit Fajjar in the West Bank is arrested by Israeli soldiers and accused of shooting towards a settlement. He is released without charge 12 days later.
“I was walking in my village at around 7:00 p.m. when I was detained by Israeli soldiers. There was nothing going on at the time and the soldiers were hiding behind a wall. One of the soldiers shouted at me to stop. I stopped immediately and another soldier tied my hands to the front with three plastic ties; one on each wrist and one connecting the two. The soldiers were yelling at me in Hebrew and I think they asked me why I was throwing stones. I told them in Arabic I don’t throw stones. Five minutes later a military jeep showed up and the soldiers pushed me into the back and made me sit on the metal floor. I was then blindfolded. The jeep drove for about five minutes before it stopped at the police station in Etzion settlement.”
“Once we arrived at Etzion I was made to stand outside in the rain. I stood in the rain for about 15 minutes before I was led inside. My blindfold was then removed and I saw an interrogator who was dressed in civilian clothes sitting behind a desk. I sat on a chair opposite the interrogator and remained tied. I was alone in the room with the interrogator. The interrogator asked me for my name and wanted to know where I lived. He didn’t inform me of my right to silence or the right to see a lawyer."
"Then the interrogator asked me why I fired gun shots at the settlement. I told him I didn’t fire gun shots at anyone and that I was walking in my village by myself. Then he asked me for my age and wanted to know what my father did for a living. He was writing my answers on a piece of paper. He asked me again why I fired gun shots at the settlement and again I told him I didn’t fire gun shots at anyone. Then he told me that if I didn’t confess I was going to spend a long time in prison and that he was going to put me in solitary confinement. I told him I had nothing to confess to. Then he took my telephone and started to look at the numbers. The interrogation lasted for about 30 minutes. In the end a soldier entered the room and blindfolded me and led me outside. It was still raining.”
“Once outside I was put in the back of a jeep and made me sit on the floor, tied and blindfolded. The jeep drove for about an hour and then the soldiers took me to a room where they removed the blindfold. There was a policeman in the room. I asked him where I was and he told me I was at the police station in Kiryat Arba settlement. The policeman turned a tape recorder on and showed me on his computer screen a statement informing me of my right to silence and the right to consult with a lawyer. He asked me for my father’s telephone number and called him and made me speak to my father to tell him I was at Kiryat Arba and to ask him to appoint a lawyer for me."
"The interrogator then started to interrogate me. He started by accusing me of firing gun shots at the settlement. I denied the accusation and told him I wasn’t even close to the settlement. The interrogator claimed that the CCTV camera near the settlement filmed me approaching the settlement. I asked him to show me the film. He said he would do so later but he never did. I think he was trying to trick me. The interrogation lasted for about an hour. In the end he asked me to sign the statement written in Hebrew. He verbally translated it and I agreed to sign it after I realised it said that I denied the accusation. Then I was taken for fingerprinting and photographing. I was then taken back to a jeep where I was blindfolded and made me sit on the metal floor.”
“The jeep drove for about an hour before it stopped. My blindfold was removed and I realized I was back at Etzion settlement. One of the soldiers took me to a prison cell. At first I stayed for about 15 minutes in a cell with adults before a soldier took me into another room where I was by myself. I didn’t ask to use the bathroom and I wasn’t hungry. The following morning I was woken at 7:00 a.m. and givena prison uniform. Thirty minutes later the soldier came back with my clothes and told me to change back into them. Then I was handcuffed, shackled and blindfolded and put into a vehicle where I waited for 30 minutes. Somebody turned up the air conditioner even though it was a cold day. I felt very cold. When the vehicle started to move the air conditioner was switched off. We drove from around 9:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. At times I felt as though we were going around in circles. When we finally arrived I found out I was at Ofer prison, near Ramallah.”
“On arrival at Ofer prison I was immediately taken to a prison cell where I remained until around midnight. I wasn’t given any food or drink and I wasn’t allowed to use a bathroom. Then a soldier searched me thoroughly. He asked me to take off my clothes but to keep my underwear on. He made me crouch up and down a couple of times. Then I was given prison clothes and taken to Section 13 where there were other youths. On Sunday, 16 March, I was taken to Ofer military court. My parents were not there. A lawyer was there who told me he was representing me. There was no discussion in court and the hearing was adjourned until Tuesday, 18 March.”
“On Monday, 17 March, a soldier took me out of the prison cell, shackled, handcuffed and blindfolded me. I was taken to a car which drove for about five minutes. When it stopped I was taken out of the vehicle and into an interrogation room. The interrogator removed the blindfold but kept me shackled and handcuffed. I think he was from the Shin Bet security services. He was in civilian clothes and spoke fluent Arabic. I was with him by myself. He asked me the same questions as the other two interrogators and accused me of shooting at a settlement. I denied the accusation. The interrogator wrote what I told him and there was a camera in the room. After the interrogation I was fingerprinted and photographedagain. Thirty minutes later I was taken back to Ofer prison. On Tuesday, 18 March, I was taken back to the military court. My parents were not there and another lawyer was there to represent me. In court I denied the accusation and the hearing was adjourned until the following Sunday.”
“On Sunday, 23 March, soldiers took me back to the military court where I remained in the waiting room until around 1:00 p.m. Then I was taken back to prison without going to inside the court. When I asked why I was told that I had been taken to court by mistake. On the same day, at around 6:00 p.m. a soldier came to tell me I was going to be released. I didn’t understand why. An hour later I was taken outside the prison where my father was waiting for me. My father told me the lawyer was able to convince the court that I was innocent and that there was not enough evidence to convict me. I arrived home at around 9:00 p.m., 12 days after my arrest.”