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Testimony: J.M.A.B.


Name: J.M.A.B.
Age: 16
Date: 16 June 2017
Location: Kafr Malik, West Bank
Accusation: Attempting to ambush a jeep

On 16 June 2017, a 16-year-old youth from Kafr Malik is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 5:00 a.m. from a vehicle near his village. He reports being interrogated without first being informed of his right to silence or his right to consult with a lawyer.

It was during the fasting month of Ramadan when people stay up all night. I went for an outing just after dawn with my friends to a nearby water spring. It was around 5:00 a.m. when we sat down in a field to enjoy the view. 
Shortly afterwards I saw a group of Israeli soldiers nearby and I had a feeling they were about to provoke us. My friends and I decided to get into the car and go home. Just as we were driving away we were surprised by a flying checkpoint. The soldiers started to shoot in our direction when they saw our car. I think they shot more than 20 bullets and we were terrified.
When we stopped the car the soldiers told us to get out. As I got out of the car a soldier kicked me in the back and threw me down on the ground. About five minutes later another soldier brought plastic ties and I was tied to the back with one plastic tie which was very tight and painful. My wrists swelled and turned blue and the tie cut through my wrists and I was bleeding. It left a mark on my wrists for about two months. Then soldiers started to kick me all over my body. About 15-20 soldiers kicked and beat me with the back of their guns. I was scared and in pain. Then they covered my head with the T-shirt I was wearing, bending my head forward. I had neck pain for about two weeks from this position.
Then I was taken to the back of a troop carrier. My stomach was exposed and I was shivering because it was cold and I was scared. I sat on a seat and the troop carrier drove to a nearby military base. 
At the base I asked the soldiers to remove the painful tie but they did not respond. They made me sit on barbed wire and poured cold and then hot water on me. I felt sick. I asked to use the toilet and it took them two hours to allow me to use the toilet. 
At around 9:00 a.m. I was examined by a doctor. The doctor removed the tie and then tied my hands to the front using three plastic ties, one on each wrist and another connecting the two. He also pulled my T-shirt down and blindfolded me with a white cloth. My neck hurt so much from bending forward for a long time. 
Then I was taken to the police station in the settlement of Binyamin where I waited in a room until around 7:00 p.m. I was fasting and I asked for some water to break my fast and they brought me some water. Soldiers made fun of me and started to shout “Allahu Akbar”. They turned the air conditioner on cold and I was freezing. At around 10:30 p.m. I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator wore a police uniform. He turned a tape recorder on. He removed the blindfold and the plastic ties and replaced them with another three ties which were tighter. When I asked him to remove the ties because I was in pain he swore at me and called me a “son of a whore” and a “brother of a whore” and told me he was going to lock me up in prison until “god frees me”. The he threw his pen at me and hit me in the chest. 
The interrogator then accused me of waiting for a military jeep to pass by in order to throw stones at it. I denied the accusation. Then he told me the soldiers should have shot me instead of arresting me and that I was not worthy even of a prison cell. Then he showed me a document written in both Hebrew and Arabic saying I had the right to contact a lawyer and the right to remain silent during interrogation. It also said choosing to remain silent could be used against me in court. When I asked for a lawyer he told me he would allow me to speak to a lawyer later.
Then he repeated the same accusation and I continued to deny it. During the interrogation he swore at me again and called me a “son of a whore”. He interrogated me for about 40 minutes and I continued to deny the accusation. In the end he called a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me to remain silent. Then he showed me a document written in Hebrew and asked me to sign it and I did without understanding what it said.
After the interrogation I was taken to a room full of soldiers. The air conditioner was very cold and the soldiers slapped me each time I asked them to turn it up. I sat on the floor and I was freezing cold. 
Later I was taken in a vehicle to Ofer prison. I arrived at Ofer just after midnight. I was strip searched and taken to Section 13. The other detainees prepared some food for me and I slept until dawn.
On 19 June 2017 I had my first hearing in the military court. My father was in court and the hearing was adjourned. I had about 14 hearings. 
During this time I was taken twice to Binyamin police station for two more interrogation. The first interrogator did not inform me of my rights and wanted me to confess on myself and other boys. He interrogated me for 45 minutes. He swore at me and called son of a “whore” and spat at me. He also raised his voice to scare me and wanted me to sign documents in Hebrew but I refused to sign.
The second interrogator questioned me for about 30 minutes and was not aggressive. He did not inform me of my rights and told me one of my friends had confessed against me.
At the last hearing, which was on 8 January 2018, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to eight months in prison and fined 5,000 shekels. I was also given a suspended sentence of 18 months suspended for five years. 
I spent my entire sentence in Ofer prison. In prison I attended classes but they were not very useful because the level was low. My parents visited me in prison seven times. 
I was released on 25 January 2018 and I went home with lots of people from my village who had come to greet me. I arrived home at around 3:30 p.m. and had a nice meal with my friends and family.