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Testimony: S.K.I.D.


Name: S.K.I.D.
Age: 16
Date: 10 January 2019
Location: Kafr Qaddum, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones

On 10 January 2019, a 16-year-old minor from Kafr Qaddum was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 12:30 a.m. He reports being interrogated multiple times without being first informed of his legal rights and being held in solitary confinement for three days.

I was at my brother’s house when I heard lots of vehicles outside. It was at around 12:30 a.m. I looked out the window and saw about five Israeli military jeeps. Then I saw soldiers enter my parents’ house which is next door. They banged on the door loudly and woke up the neighbourhood; all the neighbours came out to see what was going on. 
Shortly afterwards around 20 soldiers, accompanied by my father, came to my brother’s house where I was. They banged on the door and my brother answered. They entered the house and searched it, turned the furniture upside down and smeared the carpets with their muddy boots.
A soldier asked for me and told me he had given my father a document about my arrest. Then he told me they wanted to take me for questioning for five minutes and would bring me back. He also asked for my identity card and I told him it was at home. Then he tied my hands to the front with three plastic ties: one on each wrist and another connecting the two. The ties were very tight and caused me a lot of pain. Then he blindfolded me and the soldiers led me to our house. 
A soldier made me stand against the wall as the soldiers tried to arrest my 14-year-old brother. I could not tolerate hearing my brother crying and vomiting and clinging to my mother. I had an argument with a soldier and he slapped me hard on the face and banged my head against the wall and called me “a son of a whore”. I swore back at him and then he dragged me outside.
The commander approached me and told me he had shown me respect in front of my father and accused me of not respecting him in return. He cut off the ties and tied my hands behind my back with metal handcuffs. He painfully twisted my hands to the back and tightened the handcuffs. I complained and told him I was in pain but he did not listen to my complaint.

Then I was taken to a troop carrier where I sat on the metal floor. The soldiers were having fun; singing loudly and making fun of me. I swore at one of the soldiers and he pushed me in the back with the back with his elbow.

I was taken to a nearby military base where I was left outside on the ground. They made me kneel and it was cold and rainy. I was left there for about 20 minutes. I was so tired and in pain and begged the soldiers to take me inside.

After about 20 minutes I was taken to a small room with the air-conditioning turned on. It was very cold. They made me kneel down for about 30 minutes. Then I was examined by a doctor.

The doctor removed the blindfold and asked me if I was in pain. Then he mumbled something which I did not understand. Then I was taken to a small room where I remained until around 7:00 a.m. Then I was taken in a jeep to a place I did not recognise; I think it was a police station. At around 8:00 a.m. I was taken for interrogation.

The interrogator removed the blindfold and welcomed me. He was in the room with lots of soldiers who surrounded me. I told the interrogator I wanted to speak to a lawyer and named one for him. He did not allow me to speak to the lawyer until half way through the interrogation. Without informing me of my rights he accused me of throwing stones and of harming soldiers. He showed me photographs and video footage of clashes with soldiers and accused me of taking part. I denied the accusation but he insisted they were my photographs.

Then he asked me if I wanted the easy way or the hard way and spoke in a clam tone of voice. He wanted to know how I spent my time and what I did with my friends. He wanted to know whether my friends and I threw stones at soldiers. I told him we did not. He questioned me for about an hour and threatened to arrest my father and younger brother.

Half way through the interrogation he handed me a phone and told me the person was a lawyer. At first I did not believe it was a lawyer and it took me a while before I was sure. The lawyer wanted to know the accusation and asked me whether I had confessed. The interrogator listened in as we spoke.

After the interrogation I was taken to another room and the lawyer came in. He told me not to be scared and warned they were going to question me again. At around 2:00 a.m. I was taken for another round of interrogation.

It was the same interrogator but this time he spoke without an interpreter. He turned a voice recorder on and started to question me without informing me of my rights. He showed me the same photographs and accused me of throwing stones and I denied it. He questioned me for about one-and-a-half hours. Then he showed me documents in Hebrew and asked me to sign them but I refused to sign because I did not understand what was written. Then they took my photograph and my fingerprints and then took me to Huwwara military base.

At Huwwara six soldiers took me to a room and started to question me about throwing stones without informing me of my rights. One of them punched me in the stomach and then the others joined him in beating me. During this time I pushed one of the soldiers away from me after he beat me. Then he tied me to the chair. They gave me documents in Hebrew to sign but I refused to sign.

Later I was taken to a cell where I was searched in my underwear. I spent 1 night there and I was not given any food. Later that day, at around 9:00 a.m. I was taken to another place, maybe an interrogation centre, but I could not tell where it was. I later found out it was Al Jalama interrogation centre.

At that place I was left in a very small cell by myself for three nights. The lights were turned on 24 hours and I could not tell day from night. The cell was so small that I could not stretch my legs to sleep. I was given a small rag to sleep on and I had to bend my legs to fit in the small space. I ate yogurt and nothing else. During this time I was beaten and the person who beat me told me he would stop beating me only if I confessed.

After three days I was taken for a closed military court hearing. My parents did not attend and the hearing was adjourned. For 16 days following my arrest I was taken from one place to another. I spent five nights at Huwwara, three nights at Al-Jalama in a cell, six nights at the checkpoint near Megiddo and one night in a troop carrier at Al-Jalama. I cannot describe how tired I was. I found it hard to sleep during this time and I lost about 12 kg in two weeks.

On 26 January 2019, I was taken to Megiddo prison inside Israel where I was strip searched before being taken to the juvenile section.

I had nine military court hearings which my parents attended. My charge sheet said I was accused of throwing stones during the weekly Friday protests. At the last hearing, which was on 2 April, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to six months in prison fined NIS 2,000. My mother objected and the sentence was changed to five months in prison and a fine of NIS 3,000. I also received a suspended sentence of nine months in prison valid for three years. I accepted the plea bargain because I would be released within a month.

I spent the sentence at Megiddo prison where I chatted to my cousin and friend who were in prison with me. I also played table tennis and lifted weights and attended mathematics and Arabic classes. My parents visited me five times. Towards the end of my sentence I was transferred to Al Damoun prison because I had a fight with someone in prison. I was released on 26 May 2019 and I went home with my father. I arrived home late at night.