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Testimony: A.Y.H.A.


Name: A.Y.H.A.
Age: 16
Date: 1 January 2019
Location: Beit Ummar, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones
On 1 January 2019, a 16-year-old minor from Beit Ummar is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:00 a.m. He reports being interrogated without first being informed of his right to silence or his right to consult with a lawyer.
My mother woke me up after my uncle phoned to tell us Israeli soldiers were at his house looking for me. It was around 2:00 a.m. Then my phone rang and my father answered. It was the area commander who told my father to bring me over to my older brother’s house and if he didn’t the soldiers would arrest my brother. 
I later found out that the soldiers had raided my brother’s house and trashed it looking for me. My father told the commander he would bring me over as soon as I got dressed.
I got dressed and said goodbye to my family. My father then took me in the car to my brother’s house. When we were about 200 meters away soldiers stopped our car told us they had orders to arrest me. 
A female soldier took me out of the car and was going to tie my hands to the back but another soldier told her she should hand tie me to the front but then a third soldier intervened and agreed with the female soldier. In the end I was hand tied to the front with three plastic ties: one on each wrist and another connecting the two. The ties were not painful. I was also blindfolded.
A soldier asked to see my identity card and my phone. My father told them my identity card was at home. They held my father for about 10 minutes and then took me to the back of a military jeep where I sat on the metal floor.
Inside the jeep soldiers swore and called me “a son of a whore” and “a brother of a whore”. When I swore back at them a soldier struck me with the back of his gun. Then the jeep drove to the settlement of Karmi Zur.
On arrival at the settlement I was left on the floor of a shipping container until around 6:00 a.m. I was still tied and blindfolded. Then I was taken to the police station in the settlement of Kiryat Arba. 
On arrival at Kiryat Arba I was left outside for about one-and-a-half hours. Then an interrogator took me inside for questioning. It was around 7:30 a.m.
The interrogator removed the blindfold but kept me tied. He had a camera and a voice recorder in the room. Without informing me of my rights he showed me a photograph and told me it was of me. When I denied it was me he swore at me and became very angry. This lasted for about 10 minutes and then he told me he was going to send me to the police station in Etzion settlement for “a proper interrogation”. I was then blindfolded and taken to Etzion police station.
On arrival at Etzion I was examined by a doctor. Then I was taken to a room where I sat on a chair and I could not sleep. Then an interrogator came and told me his name was “Yousef”. He started by telling me he was like my father. When I told him he did not remotely resemble my father he started to swear. 
The interrogator did not inform me of my right to silence but asked me if I wanted to speak to a lawyer and I told him I did. He phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him while he remained in the room. The lawyer told me not to be scared of the interrogator. He told me I had the right to remain silent. I felt the lawyer wanted to chat in order not to give the interrogator a lot of time to question me. I think we spoke for about three minutes.  
Then the interrogator told me my brother had confessed against me. I told him my brother and I have long standing disputes and that he had kicked me out of the house and his confession does not mean anything because he is a liar. The interrogator accused me of not having respect for my brother. Then I told him I had nothing to confess even if he was to hold me until the following morning.
Then he wanted me to give him the name of the other person seen in the photograph he showed me and I told him I did not know the person. When he raised his voice at me I told him I was going to exercise my right to silence if he continued to shout. He agreed that he was angry and apologized. Then he told me he was going to send me to Ofer prison because I would not give him the name of the other person.  I told him I had nothing to say and wondered why he was going to send me to prison. He told me he was going to have them sentence me for a year if I did not confess and if I did confess he was going to send me home. 
The interrogation lasted for about 30 minutes. The interrogator did not give me any documents to sign. Then he sent me to another room where I was interrogated by someone else. The other person showed me a document in Hebrew and asked me to sign it but I told him to translate it for me. He then printed it in Arabic and it said I had consulted with a lawyer and he asked me to sign it and I did. He did not ask me any question and the whole thing lasted for about 5 minutes. Then they took my fingerprints and photograph before taking me to a cell where I was searched in my underwear. They brought me some food and left me in the cell for about five hours.
After about five hours I was taken to Ofer prison where I was strip searched before being taken to section 13. 
On Thursday, 3rd January, I was taken to Ofer military court. My parents were in court. I was denied release on bail and was taken back to Ofer prison. 
I had about 11 or 12 military court hearings and at the last one I was sentenced in a plea bargain to four months in prison fined NIS 500. I was also given a suspended sentence of five months valid for three years.
Because my parents did not pay the fine I was not granted the 14-day early release. I was released from Ofer on 1 May 2019. My parents were waiting for me and they took me home. We arrived home at around 6:00 p.m. My parents visited me only once in prison because it took a long time for their visit permit to be issued.