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Home » Children »

Testimony: M.M.H.M.


Name: M.M.H.M.
Age: 15
Date: 8 February 2021
Location: Al Jalazun, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing pipe bombs

On 8 February 2021, a 15-year-old minor from Al Jalazun refugee camp was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 3:00 a.m. He reports being interrogated mulitple times without always being informed of his legal rights.  

I was arrested from home at around 3:00 a.m. Israeli soldiers came into my bedroom and one of them woke me up. The soldiers separated my mother and younger siblings and locked them up in one of the rooms and started to question me in my bedroom. They asked me about my siblings and they were very nervous because young men and boys started to throw stones at the soldiers who remained outside our house. The situation was very tense. Then they gave my father a document filled out on Hebrew and asked him to sign it.
One of the soldiers kicked me on my leg and I fell on the floor. Then, about an hour later, I was told I was under arrest. They took me outside and did not allow me to say goodbye to my family. Outside the house a soldier tied my hands to the front with two plastic ties and tightened them hard. The ties were painful.
Then the soldiers walked me towards the nearby settlement of Beit El. On the way soldiers called me "a son of a whore" and made fun of me. Then a soldier blindfolded me and took me inside the settlement and left me on the ground for a short while. Then they took me to a bus and made me sit on a seat. The bus drove me to the police station in Binyamin settlement. I arrived there at around 5:30 a.m. 
At Binyamin I was taken to a small cell. There was a metal chair attached to the wall. The cell was very small, without enough room for me to lie down. There was no mattress and there were no windows. I felt claustrophobic and I kept calling the guard to get me out of there but he never responded. I was left there until noon the following day when I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator phoned a lawyer for me after calling my parents. The lawyer told me not to be afraid. He also told me to talk about things I knew and to avoid talking about things I did not know. The conversation lasted for about two minutes and the interrogator was listening.
Then the interrogator gave me a sheet of paper with my rights written on it. It said something about the right to remain silent but I did not understand what this meant. Then the interrogator accused me of throwing pipe bombs at soldiers and told me my friends had testified against me. Then he showed me video footage and repeated the accusation but I denied it. Then he told me it did not matter whether I confessed or not because the evidence against me was strong. Then he threatened if I gave him a hard time and did not confess he was going to lock me up in solitary confinement in a small cell at Al Mascobiyeh interrogation centre.
He questioned me for about one-and-a-half hours and kept repeating the accusations. In the end I confessed to throwing pipe bombs. Then the interrogator asked me to sign documents written in Hebrew. He translated them for me and I signed because they were identical to what I had said.
Then I was taken back to the cell for about one hour and then I was questioned again. This time the interrogator wanted to get information about my friends. He questioned me without informing me of my rights and I was not allowed to speak to a lawyer. 
Then I was taken to the quarantine section at Megiddo prison, inside Israel. I was strip searched on arrival and I spent 14 days in quarantine. During this time, I had my first military court hearing on zoom. My parents were not informed and they did not attend. My detention was extended. 
During this time I had another interrogation by an intelligence officer.  The intelligence officer did not inform me of my rights and did not allow me to speak to a lawyer. He told me he found my fingerprint on some pipe bombs and claimed this was new evidence against me. I denied the accusation. He questioned me for about an hour and did not ask me to sign any documents.
I had about 15 military court hearings and at the last one, which was on 23 August 2021, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to 10 months in prison and fined NIS 2,000. My lawyer told me if I rejected the plea bargains I would be sentenced to 18 – 20 months in prison, so I accepted it. 
After spending 14 days in the quarantine section I spent two months in the juvenile section at Megiddo and then I was transferred to Ofer prison where I spent about six months. Then I was transferred back to Megiddo where I spent the rest of my prison sentence. In prison I exercised a lot. I did not get any family visits because my parents received a permit to visit a week after I had been released. 
I was released at Salem checkpoint on 12 October 2021 and I went home with my father and the parents of a friend of mine. I arrived home at around 10:00 p.m. I now want to focus on my school work.
This testimony was produced with the financial support of the German Federal Foreign Office. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Military Court Watch.