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Home » Children »

Testimony: H.H.S.J.

 

Name: H.H.S.J.
Age: 16
Date: 13 April 2019
Location: Sa'ir, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing Molotov cocktail

On 13 April 2019, a 16-year-old minor from Sa’ir was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 1:30 a.m. He reports being interrogated without first being informed of his right to silence or consulting with a lawyer. 

A friend phoned my father at around 1:30 a.m. and told him that Israeli soldiers were in our village. I was awake and remained in bed. Soon I heard commotion outside our house and then banging at our front door. My father opened the door and around seven soldiers entered our home. 
 
The commander asked my father how many children he had and then said he wanted to arrest me. He told my father they wanted to question me about throwing stones and gave him a document with details about my arrest. The soldiers then took a picture of my father holding the document. The soldiers were in the house for about 10 minutes and then took me outside.
 
Once outside I was taken to the back of a troop carrier and made me sit on the metal floor. Inside the troop carrier they tied my hands to the front with one plastic tie which was not painful. They also blindfolded me and drove away. Then young men from the village started to throw stones at the troop carrier. The soldiers stopped for about 15 minutes and chased the young men away. Then they drove me to the police station in Etzion settlement. 
 
On arrival at Etzion I was given a medical examination. The doctor removed the blindfold and then put it back on once he was finished. Then they led me to a room where I sat on a chair. I could not sleep at all. I was not given any food or drink but I was allowed to use the toilet. At around 6:30 a.m. I was taken for interrogation.
 
The interrogator wore civilian clothes and had a gun on his side. He removed the tie and  blindfold and asked me for my name. Then he asked me what I was doing in his office. I told him soldiers brought me there. Then he accused me of throwing a Molotov cocktail. I denied the accusation. 
 
Then he phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me not to be scared and to say what I had to say and then they would send me to Ofer prison. The interrogator remained in the room and listened to the conversation which lasted for about a minute. 
 
After speaking to the lawyer the interrogator wanted to know what my father did for work. He did not inform me of my right to silence. When I told him my father was a merchant he told me he was going to revoke my father’s work permit for seven years. Then the interrogator told me other boys from the village had confessed against me. He did not give names but I later found out from my father that the boys were from a rival family. 
 
Then the interrogator brought his chair closer to mine and put his face close to my face and threatened to lock me up in solitary confinement and to put me in prison for a long time if I did not confess. I told him I had not done anything wrong and he could do whatever he wanted. He got upset when I showed him I did not care about his threats and he slapped me on the face and called me “a son of a whore.” He questioned me for about two hours and then he re-tied and blindfolded me and sent me to another interrogator.
 
The second interrogator was calm. He removed the tie and the blindfold and sat me down and showed me respect. Then he showed me video footage from 2017 and told me I was seen in the footage during clashes with soldiers on Route 60. Then he accused me of taking part in the clashes and told me three boys had confessed against me. I denied the accusation. Then he asked me for the names of the other boys and I told him I did not know them. Then he showed me a document in Hebrew and asked me to sign it but I refused to sign. 
 
After the second interrogation I was photographed and fingerprinted.  Then I was taken to a cell where I was strip searched. They brought me unappetizing food which I did not eat. At around 8:30 p.m. I was taken to Ofer prison where I was strip searched again before being taken to section 13.
 
The following day I was taken to Ofer military court. My parents were not informed about the hearing and they did not attend. I was denied bail and the hearing was adjourned. I had three military court hearings and at the last one I was sentenced in a plea bargain to two months in prison and fined NIS 2,000. I was also given a suspended sentence of six months in prison valid for four years. I accepted the plea bargain because my lawyer convinced my father it was in my interest to do so because the prosecutor wanted a sentence of one year in prison.
 
I spent the first 17 days at Ofer and then I was transferred to Megiddo prison and then to Al Damoun, both inside Israel. I was released on 29 May 2019 at Al-Jalameh checkpoint where I was met by my family.