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Home » Children »

Testimony: M.A.N.S.

 

Name:  M.A.N.S.
Age:  16
Date:  26 May 2019
Location:  Al Khader, West Bank
Accusation:  Throwing Molotov cocktails

On 26 May 2019, a 16-year-old minor from Al Khader was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 4:30 a.m. He reports being interrogated without first consulting with a lawyer or being informed of his right to silence. 

I woke up at around 4:30 a.m. and heard my father telling my mother that Israeli soldiers had surrounded our home. Shortly afterwards there was loud banging at our front door. My father opened the door and about eight soldiers entered. 
 
One soldier sat me down on the couch in the living room and asked me for my name. Then he asked me for my identity card and then told me I was under arrest. He did not say why but gave my parents a document with some details about my arrest. 
 
Then the soldiers searched the house and took clothes and other items out of the closets and threw them on the floor. They caused damage to the furniture but did not tell us what they were looking for. 
 
After search the soldiers told me to get dressed and then they took me outside. Once outside they tied my hands to the back with two plastic ties on top of each other. The ties were tight and painful and left marks on my wrists. They also blindfolded me and took me to the back of a troop carrier where I sat on a seat. 
 
I was taken to a nearby military watchtower where a soldier asked me if I had any illnesses. He removed the blindfold while asking me questions and then put it back on. He asked me whether I took drugs or smoked. 
 
About an hour later I was taken to the military base at the District Coordination Office where I sat on a bench in a room. I was not given any food or drink and I could not sleep. I was left there for a long time but I cannot tell how long. Later I was taken to the police station in Kiryat Arba settlement where I was put a room and left until it was light. Then I was taken to the police station at Etzion settlement. At Etzion I waited until around noon before being taken for interrogation.
 
The interrogator removed the blindfold. He was a big man wearing civilian clothes. Without informing me of my rights he accused me of throwing 10 Molotov cocktails at soldiers on Route 60 and told me if I confessed he was going to send me home. I denied the accusation. 
 
Halfway through the interrogation he pulled out his pistol and put it on the table in front of me. I think he wanted to intimidate me in order to confess. Then he threatened to lock me up in prison for years and years if I did not confess and said he was going to deny me family visits.
 
Then he wanted to know the names of my friends and named some of them and asked me whether I knew them. I did not give any names and told him I did not know the boys he named. He questioned me for about an hour. I was not given anything to sign.
 
At the end of the interrogation he blindfolded me and took me outside and made me sit in the sun for a long time. Then he brought me in and asked me the same questions again. He told me to confess on myself and my friends if I wanted to go home. I continued to deny the accusation and did not give any names. This lasted until about 5:00 p.m.
 
Then I was questioned by another interrogator. Before he started to question me he gave me a document saying I had the right to remain silent. Then he took me outside and phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me not to be afraid because the interrogator was not scary and told me not to confess and to remain silent. 
 
The interrogator took me inside and repeated the same accusation. He told me I was the age of his son and urged me to confess and to give names of my friends and confess against them too. He told me it was a pity for someone my age to be locked up in prison because of “a bunch of bastards” and told me all I had to do was to confess and I would go home. I did not believe him and I did not confess. 
 
Then he changed his mood and started to shout at me and accused me of wearing a face mask during clashes with soldiers. I denied it. He alternated between being calm and reasonable and losing his temper. Then he told me my friends had confessed that I was with them during the clashes. At that point I confessed to throwing five stones at the separation barrier which missed. Then he showed me documents in Hebrew and asked me to sign them but I refused to sign and asked him to give me a translation. He gave me the document in Arabic and I read it and signed it.
 
Then I was taken to see another interrogator. Without informing me of my rights he took me outside for a walk. He told me he knew my father’s first wife was shot dead by soldiers and wanted to know the reason why my older half-brother does not commit acts of violence. He named my other brothers to prove he knew everything about my family. Then he told me it was unfortunate he had to cancel my father’s work permit. Then he brought me inside and showed me a document in Hebrew and asked me to sign it and I did because by that time I just wanted to get done with it.
 
Then they took my photograph and fingerprints. I was searched in my boxer shorts and taken to a cell where the ties were removed. I was hungry and asked for some food but they did not bring anything. I spent a night at Etzion. 
 
In the morning I was taken to Ofer prison where I was strip searched before being taken to section 13. 
 
The following day I was taken to Ofer military court. My parents were there. I was denied release on bail. After court I was taken back to prison. 
 
In all I had seven military court hearings. At the last hearing I was sentenced in a plea bargain to three months in prison and fined NIS 2,000. I was also given a suspended sentence of six months valid for two years. I accepted the plea bargain because my lawyer urged me to accept it. He told me to accept it because if I did not I would have to serve more time in prison.
 
I spent five weeks at Ofer and then I was transferred to Megiddo prison inside Israel. I spent five days at Megiddo and then I was transferred to Damoun prison, also in Israel. In prison I attended classes and played table tennis. I was released on 12 August 2019 at Al Jalama and I took a taxi home. My father paid the driver when I arrived. I arrived home at around 3:00 p.m. My mother was very happy to see me.