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Testimony: O.T.

Name: O.T.
Age: 14 years
Date of incident: 10 November 2013
Location: Beit Fajjar, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones
On 10 November 2013, a 14-year-old boy from the village of Beit Fajjar is arrested by Israeli soldiers and accused of throwing stones and setting fire to tyres.
“I was walking with my friend near the edge of the village close to the settlement. There were clashes with soldiers and stone throwing when all of a sudden we noticed an Israeli military jeep chasing us. We ran back towards the village when the soldiers started to shoot rubber bullets at us. I was hit on my leg but I continued to run. Four soldiers got out of the jeep and started to chase us on foot until they caught us. Two soldiers hit me on the head with their guns. It was so hard that I started to bleed. Then they tied my hands behind my back with three plastic ties, one on each wrist and one connecting them. They also blindfolded me. Then they pushed me inside the jeep and made me sit on the metal floor.”
“The jeep drove for about five minutes before it stopped. I could see from under the blindfold that we were at Etzion. The soldiers made me sit on the ground in an open area for about 15 minutes before I was taken for a medical examination. The doctor removed the blindfold and had a look at the wound on my head and wiped off the blood. He took my blood pressure and looked at the wound again and told me everything was ok. There were some scratches on my neck too which the doctor saw. He asked me if I had any illnesses or allergies. Then I was taken to a prison cell where I stayed alone for one night. My head wound was still bleeding a little. I was also brought some food.
“The following day a soldier came at around 8:00 a.m. and took me to an interrogation room. The interrogator was in civilian clothes. He made me sit on a chair and I was hand tied and shackled. I was alone with the interrogator. He didn’t tell me about my right to silence or the right to see a lawyer. He also didn’t allow me to speak to my parents to tell them where I was. The interrogator accused me of setting tyres on fire and of throwing stones at soldiers. I denied the accusation. He had an audio-tape recorder and recoded what I was telling him.”
“The interrogator did not beat me but he wanted me to confess to throwing stones and to setting tyres on fire. I continued to deny the accusations. Then the interrogator printed out a document written in Hebrew and told me it was my statement. He asked me to sign it. In the beginning I refused to sign it but later I did. I was scared not to sign it because the interrogator told me I was going to spend a long time in prison if I didn’t sign it. Then I was taken to a room where I was photographed and my fingerprints were taken. After that I was taken back to the room where I stayed for about half-an-hour. Then soldiers handcuffed me to the front with metal handcuffs. I was also shackled. Then I was taken to a vehicle where I sat on a seat. The vehicle drove for about an hour or an hour-and-a-half before it stopped at a military camp. Soldiers then told me we were at Ofer prison. On arrival at Ofer I was searched and given prison clothes and taken to the juvenile section where I was with other prisoners my age. I spent one night there. The following morning soldiers told me I was being taken to the military court.”
“In the military court I saw a lawyer for the first time who told me he was going to represent me. My mother was also there and I was allowed to speak to her across the courtroom. I was charged with setting tyres on fire but because it was the first time I was arrested the court decided to release me with a fine of 1,000 shekels. My mother didn’t have that amount of money on her so I was taken back to prison. The following day, Wednesday, 13 November 2013, I was released at around 6:00 p.m. after my family paid the fine. My mother was waiting for me outside court and we took a taxi home.”