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Testimony: A.N.S.J.


Name: A.N.S.J.
Age: 16
Date: 10 May 2021
Location: Jenin, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing pipe bomb

On 10 May 2021, a 16-year-old minor from Jenin was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 6:30 a.m. He reports being interrogated multiple times and being held in solitary confinement in a windowless cell for five days.

I was arrested by the Palestinian police and I spent two weeks in a Palestinian prison. About 40 days after I was released I was arrested by Israeli soldiers. On the day of my arrest I did not come home until around 6:30 a.m. because I was expecting soldiers to come and arrest me. I went to bed and had just fallen asleep when soldiers raided our home. They pushed the door open because it was not locked and about 20 soldiers entered our house. They beat my older brother thinking he was me but I immediately intervened to protect my brother and identified myself. 
A soldier asked to see my identity card and my mobile phone. Then he asked me to “bring out what I had”. I think he meant weapons. I told him I had nothing. Then they searched the house but did not find anything. Then they took me outside where a soldier blindfolded me and tied my hands behind my back with two plastic ties on top of each other. He tightened them and I was in pain and the ties left marks on my wrists for a long time. 
Then they walked me for about 50 meters to where the military jeeps were waiting. A soldier pushed me into the back of a military jeep and made me sit on the metal floor. Then they drove to Al Jalama checkpoint and waited for a doctor to give me a medical examination. Then I was taken to Salem where I waited for about two hours before being taken for interrogation. By then it was around 1:00 p.m.
The interrogator allowed me to phone my parents and then he phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me to stick to my words and to think before speaking. The interrogator was listening to the conversation which lasted about a minute. 
Then, the interrogator informed me of my right to silence. He said it was up to me to either speak or remain silent. He was in civilian clothes and had a camera in the room. He removed the ties and the blindfold and shackled my feet. He told me I was at Salem interrogation centre and said if I wanted him to give me something I should give him something in return. He then explained further and said if I cooperated with him he would cooperate with me in return. 
Then he looked at my WhatsApp account and found something he did not like. I did not say anything. Then he accused me of throwing pipe bombs. I remained silent. He was calm most of the time and questioned me on and off for about eight hours. He showed me photographs and video footage and wanted me to confess against young men and boys from my town. At the end I confessed. After I confessed the interrogator asked me to sign some documents written in Hebrew and I did.
Then I was taken to Huwwara military base where I was searched in my boxer shorts before being taken to a small cell where I spent five days in solitary confinement. The cell measured about 2x3 metres and had a sink. There were no windows and the light was left on 24 hours. I was in distress and found the best way to pass the time was to sleep. At times I felt I was choking and kept calling the guard to let me out and to bring me food. During the five days I had my first military court hearing over zoom and my mother attended. My detention was extended. 
I was also taken for two more interrogations during this time. I did not speak to a lawyer but I was given a document informing me of my rights. I was questioned about the same allegations and I was asked to sign documents written in Hebrew.
Then I was transferred to the quarantine section at Megiddo prison, inside Israel. During this time, I was questioned by a policeman. He informed me of my right to silence and made me repeat what I had said in the first interrogation without allowing me to speak to a lawyer. He did not ask me to sign any documents. After 14 days I was taken to the juvenile section at Megiddo. 
I had seven military court hearings which were conducted on zoom. At the last one, which was on 17 August 2021, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to six months in prison and fined NIS 1,000. I was also given a 15-month suspended sentence suspended for two-and-a-half years. I accepted the plea bargain because I was going to be released soon.
I spent the rest of my prison sentence at Megiddo where I was in charge of keeping the ward clean. I did not have any family visits which I found very hard. I was released at Salem checkpoint on 13 September 2021. My parents were told to wait for me at Al Jalama. I called them and told them I was at Salem. They picked me up and we all went home. We arrived home at around 5:30 p.m. 
This testimony was produced with the financial support of the German Federal Foreign Office. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Military Court Watch.