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Testimony: M.S.M.H.


Name: M.S.M.H.
Age: 13
Date: 11 September 2019
Location: Bethlehem, West Bank
Accusation: Molotov cocktails

On 11 September 2019, a 13-year-old minor from Bethlehem was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 3:30 a.m. He reports being interrogated without being informed of his right to silence or consulting with a lawyer.

I woke up to the sound of a loud explosion which sounded close by. It was around 3:30 a.m. My mother opened the front door and about 20 Israeli soldiers entered our home and with more spread out around the house. 
The commander asked me for my name while the other soldiers searched our house. They even looked inside our washing machine looking for particular items of clothing. The commander then tied my hands to the front with one plastic tie which was very tight and painful. 
The commander told my parents I was under arrest but did not say why and did not give us any documents. My younger sister started to cry and one of the soldiers approached her as if he was going to spray pepper spray in her face. She was terrified and I was very worried for her. All this took about 10 minutes; the soldiers seemed to be in a hurry.
Then they took me outside where I was blindfolded and pushed into the back of a jeep and made me sit on a seat. They drove me to a nearby military base and along the way the soldiers swore at me.
At the base I was examined by a doctor. He examined me without removing the tie or the blindfold. I waited many hours before I was taken to the police station in Etzion settlement for interrogation. During this time I could hear soldiers cock their guns and say “shoot, shoot”. I was scared because I was blindfolded and could not see what was going on. Sometime later I was interrogated
The interrogator removed the blindfold and turned a voice recorder on and told me I had to say yes to anything I knew and that I had to tell him what I knew. He then phoned a lawyer but the lawyer did not answer his telephone. The interrogator did not inform me of any other rights. 
The interrogator asked me about a person he said was my age but I told him I did not know that person. Then he asked me whether I knew where Rachel’s Tomb was. He also asked me about the separation fence. I told him I did not know anything. He then turned off the voice recorder and talked to me firmly and said this was the last time he was going to speak nicely to me. Then he turned the voice recorder on again.
Then he told me he wanted me to tell him who made the Molotov cocktail and who threw it. Then he named one of my friends and told me he had confessed against me. Then he showed me pipe bombs and Molotov cocktails and told me he had collected them from the house of the boy who confessed against me. I denied the accusation. He questioned me for about four hours and kept repeating the same thing. I continued to deny the accusation. He did not show me any documents. 
After the interrogation I was taken to a cell where I was strip searched. I spent four days in the cell at Etzion. The cell did not have any windows and a bright light which flickered all the time was on 24 hours. I could not sleep and did not know whether it was day or night. 
About four days later I was taken to Ofer military court. My mother was in court and my hearing was adjourned. After court I was taken to Ofer prison where I was strip searched again and before being taken to section 13. 
I had four military court hearings and at the last one I was sentenced in a plea bargain to two months and two days in prison and  fined NIS 1,500. I was also given a suspended sentence of 10 months suspended for five years. This last hearing took place 10 days before I was released and that was why I accepted it. Also my lawyer told me I would have received six months in prison had I rejected the plea bargain. 
I was released on 30 October 2019. I arrived home at around 5:00 p.m. My mother visited me once in prison.