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Testimony: U.A.A.S.


Name: U.A.A.S.
Age: 17
Date: 11 December 2019
Location: Aida camp, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones

On 11 December 2019, a 17-year-old minor from Aida refugee camp was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:30 a.m. He reports being interrogated on multiple occasions without always being informed of his legal rights. 

I woke up at around 2:30 a.m. to the voices of soldiers in my bedroom. I looked up and saw four Israeli soldiers in the room. One of them told me to get up and the others started to search my room without telling me what they were looking for. Then the commander told me I was under arrest suspected of throwing stones at soldiers. They did not give my family any documents and did not tell us where they were taking me. 
About half-an-hour later a soldier tied my hands behind my back with a single plastic tie which was painful. Then they took me outside where I was blindfolded. I was then led on foot to the nearby military base at Rachel’s Tomb. We walked through the cemetery and made strange sounds to scare me and swore at me in Hebrew. 
I was left at Rachel’s Tomb for about an hour and then I was taken in the back of a military jeep where I sat on the metal floor. I was taken to an interrogation centre in the outskirts of Jerusalem. 
I waited a short while and while I was waiting the Area Commander came and spoke to me. He told me to confess; otherwise he was going to taser me. He said the electricity from the taser would make me confess effortlessly. Then I was taken to the interrogation room.
The interrogator told me if I behaved myself and told him everything there was to say he would remove the tie and the blindfold. Then he told me I had the right to speak to a lawyer and I had the choice of either remaining silent or defending myself. I told him I wanted to see a lawyer, not only speak to one. Then he phoned a lawyer and I spoke to him. The lawyer told me to say everything I thought I had to say. The conversation lasted for a few seconds during which time the interrogator left the room.
Then the interrogator accused me of throwing stones and told me he had photographic evidence against me but he never showed me any photographs. Then he told me someone had confessed against me but did not tell me who. He questioned me for about an hour and removed the tie and the blindfold about half way through the interrogation. Then when I denied the accusation he put them back on for a while. 
At the end of the interrogation he showed me a document written in Hebrew and wanted me to sign it but I refused to sign something I did not understand. After the interrogation I was taken to Ofer prison where I was strip searched and taken to section 13.
The following day I was taken to Ofer military court and the prosecutor asked for my detention to be extended for more interrogation. The hearing was adjourned and I was taken back to prison. 
Two days later I was taken for another interrogation. The same interrogator questioned me and accused me of the same thing. At the beginning he informed me of my rights and phoned a lawyer for me and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me if there is no evidence against me I should not worry and I should stick to my line and not confess. 
The interrogator repeated the accusation and told me all my friends had confessed against me. He got upset and raised his voice at me when I denied the accusation. He questioned me for about an hour and showed me documents in Hebrew to sign but I refused to sign. After the interrogation I was taken back to prison.
I had multiple interrogations. During the last two interrogations I was not informed of my rights. They interrogators repeated the same accusation and I continued to deny them.  During the same period of time I had many military court hearings. 
At the last military court hearing, which was a week before I was released, I was sentenced in a plea to a fine of NIS 8,000 and the two months I had already spent in prison. I was also given a suspended sentence of one year valid for two years. I accepted the plea bargain because it meant I would go home in a week.
I spent the whole time in Ofer prison. I was released on 3 February 2020 and I went home with my brother and father. We arrived home after midnight. I did not have any family visits while I was in prison because the permit was not issued in time.