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Testimony: A.W.M.A.


Name:  A.W.M.A.
Age:  16
Date:  9 August 2017
Location:  Tuqu', West Bank
Accusation:  Throwing stones

On 9 August 2017 a 16-year-old youth from Tuqu' is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 1:00 a.m. and accused of throwing stones. He reports not being informed of his legal rights until he was interrogated a second time following his confession.           

I woke up at around 1:00 a.m. to the sound of loud banging at our front door. My father answered and a group of eight Israeli soldiers entered our home. My uncle was with them because they went to his house first looking for me.
The soldiers ordered all of us into the living room and asked my father for my identity card and then compared it to a list of names they had. The commander saw my name on his list and ticked it.
Then the commander told my father they wanted to take me for a couple of hours and then they would bring me back afterwards. He gave my father a document with details about my arrest. I prepared myself and said goodbye to the family.
The soldiers then took me outside where they tied my hands to the front with three plastic ties: one on each wrist and another connecting the two. The ties were very tight and painful and cut into my wrists and caused bleeding. They left a mark on my wrists for a long time.
The soldiers walked me a short distance to where a military jeep was waiting where I was blindfolded. I was then put in the back of the jeep where I sat on a seat next to two other detainees.
The jeep drove a short distance to the nearby military base where a doctor examined me. The doctor removed the blindfold but kept me tied.  He then replaced the blindfold after the examination.
Then I was taken to another military base where I was left on the ground outside for about seven hours. I was tied and blindfolded the whole time. At one point a soldier tightened the blindfold and I felt my eyes were going to pop up. The soldiers brought me some water and allowed me to pee behind some shipping containers but with my hands still tied.
After about seven hours I was put in a troop carrier and driven to the police station in Etzion settlement. A soldier inside the troop carrier put his boots on the seat I was sitting on and swore at me calling me a "fucker son of a whore". Another soldier told him to leave me alone. About one-and-a-half hours I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator did not inform me of any rights. He kept me tied and blindfolded and told me if I was straight with him he was going to be straight with me. Then he asked me where my father worked. When I told him my father had a job inside Israel he told me if I did not cooperate with him he was going to revoke my father’s work permit and destroy his livelihood.
Then he wanted to know what I was doing on 30 July 2017. I told him I could not remember what I was doing on that exact date but generally I go to school in the morning and I stay home studying in the afternoon. As soon as I said this he slapped me on the face and hit me on the head and told me I had to confess to throwing stones at soldiers. I was beaten so hard and I was so scared that I confessed to throwing a stone from a distance of 450 meters at military jeeps in the village but the stone missed the target. Then he wanted to know who else was throwing stones. I told him all the other boys were wearing masks on their faces and I did not recognise them.
Then I was taken to see another interrogator who had a camera and a tape recorder in the room.  He gave me a document informing me of my right to remain silent and the right to consult with a lawyer. Then he phoned a lawyer who told me not to confess. I told the lawyer I had already confessed.
The second interrogator asked me to repeat what I had told the first interrogator. Then he printed out my statement in Hebrew and asked me to sign it and I did after he translated it for me.
After the interrogation they took my photograph and fingerprints. Then I was taken to Ofer prison. At Ofer I was strip searched and asked to crouch up and down while naked then I was taken to Section 13 where I ate and went to bed.
The following day I was taken to Ofer military court. My parents were not in court because they were not notified of the hearing. My case was adjourned.
In all I had seven military court appearances. At the last appearance I was sentenced in a plea bargain to two-and-a-half months in prison and fined 2,000 shekels. In addition I was given another six months in prison suspended for three years. I accepted the plea bargain because I was told I would spend eight months in prison if I didn't.
I spent my prison sentence at Ofer and my mother visited me once. In prison I played chess and studied a bit. I am not doing well at school and I am thinking of dropping out.
Now when I hear that soldiers are in my village I go home and stay there. My parents suffered because of my imprisonment, especially my father who lost workdays when he attended my court hearings.
I was released on 23 October 2017 and I went home with my father.