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Testimony: A.R.Q.

Name: A.R.Q.
Age: 15 years
Date of incident: 8 January 2014
Location: Azzun, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones
On 8 January 2014, a 15-year-old boy from Azzun is arrested by Israeli soldiers at night and accused of throwing stones.
“I was asleep when I woke up to the sound of banging at the front door. My father came to my bedroom and told me Israeli soldiers were outside. I got up immediately and went to the living room. About 15 soldiers entered the house and a larger number were outside. One of the soldiers asked for my name. When I told him he told me to go and put my shoes on. He also asked my father for my birth certificate and told him they were going to arrest me. They didn’t tell us why they were arresting me but the Commander gave my father a piece of paper with telephone numbers on it, including the number of an interrogator in Ariel settlement and told my father to call this interrogator if he wanted information about me. My father later told me that when he called no one answered the telephone.”
“I was taken outside the house where they tied my hands to the front with one plastic tie which wasn’t painful. Then they walked me for about 1.5 kilometers towards the settlement of Qarne Shomron. They did not beat me or ask me any questions on the way. A troop carrier was waiting at the gate to the settlement. They blindfolded me and took me inside the troop carrier. When the vehicle started to move they made me sit on a seat. The carrier drove for about 30 minutes and then I was taken for a medical examination.”
“The doctor removed the tie and the blindfold and gave me a questionnaire to fill out and asked me if I suffered from any illnesses. He also took my blood pressure. I told the doctor I had a fever but he didn’t take my temperature or give me any medicine. Then he tied my hands again to the front, blindfolded me and took me outside to a courtyard where I sat on the ground outside the doctor’s room. I heard a soldier mention that we were in Ariel settlement. I remained in the courtyard until the early hours of the morning. It was a cold night. Then I was taken to the interrogator’s room at the police station in Ariel. My father later told me that the interrogator called him in the morning and told him he could attend the interrogation and that he had to make it to the police station in 30 minutes. It was a very short notice for my father and he couldn’t make it.”
“It was around 10:00 a.m. when I was taken into the interrogation room. The interrogator was wearing civilian clothes and was sitting with another person. I think the other person was also an interrogator but he was sitting there as an observer and didn’t say much. At one point I felt the two of them were playing good cop bad cop. During the interrogation they removed the hand tie and the blindfold. There was a camera and a tape recorder in the room and the interrogator spoke very good Arabic. The interrogator asked me if I knew why I was there and I told him I didn’t. He told me I was there because of an allegation that I threw stones at settlers and soldiers on the main road. I told the interrogator I didn’t throw stones and denied the allegation.”
“Ten minutes into the interrogation the interrogator asked me if I had a lawyer. I told him I didn’t. Then he called a lawyer and asked me to speak to him. The lawyer spoke to me in Arabic and asked me for my name and what I was accused of. He also asked me whether I had confessed. I told him I hadn’t. He told me not to confess. He asked me for my father’s number and I gave it to him.”
“After I spoke to the lawyer the interrogator insisted that I did throw stones and that I had to confess, otherwise he was going to take me to another interrogation where there would be beatings and other problems. Then the interrogator claimed that there were photos showing me throwing stones. When I asked him to show me the photos he got very angry. The interrogation lasted for an hour. At the end the interrogator showed me a document written in Arabic and asked me to sign it. I told him I wanted to read it before signing it. The interrogator told me his hand writing was bad but I insisted on reading it. When I read it I saw that it was my statement accurately written and that it specifically said that I denied having thrown stones. I signed the document.”
Then they took my fingerprints and my photo and took me back to the courtyard where they hand tied me to the front with one plastic tie and blindfolded me. I remained there for about an hour before they put me on a jeep. The jeep drove for about 30 minutes before it arrived at Huwwara military camp. They took me to a prison cell where I stayed with other young boys and only then did they give me some food and water. I remained in Huwwara until Thursday afternoon (9 January) when prison police came and told me they were going to take me to Meggido prison inside Israel. I stayed in Meggido until Friday (10 January) when at around 1:00 p.m. a policeman came and told me they decided to release me. My parents were not informed so they were not there to take me home. I was released at Salem checkpoint where I took a taxi home. I never appeared in court and never met with a lawyer other than the brief phone call during the interrogation. I wasvery happy to be home.”