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Home » Children »

Testimony: S.A.M.H.

 

Name: S.A.M.H.
Age: 14
Date: 18 October 2021
Location: Beit Fajjar, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing Molotov cocktail

On 18 October 2021, a 14-year-old minor from Beit Fajjar was arrested by Israeli soldiers from home at 2:30 a.m.  He reports briefly consulting with a lawyer on the phone prior to interrogation and being informed of his right to silence. 

I woke up at around 2:30 a.m. to the sound of loud banging at our front door. My father rushed to open the door just in time before the soldiers broke it open. About 10 Israeli soldiers entered our home while lots more remained outside. The commander asked my father about his children; their ages and names. When my father mentioned my name, the commander told him I was under arrest. 
 
The soldiers barely gave me enough time to get dressed before a soldier tied my hands behind my back with four plastic ties: two on each wrist and he connected them together in the middle like a chain. The ties were tight and painful. He also blindfolded me and did not allow me to say goodbye to my family. 
 
The soldiers remained inside our house for about 30 minutes. Then they gave my father a document filled out in Hebrew. Then a soldier deliberately hit my head against the mirror on the wall and then took me outside. 
 
The soldiers led me towards the nearby settlement of Migdal Oz. On the way the soldiers swore at me and called my mother and sisters whores. They also tried to trip me and made fun of me. When we got to the gate of the settlement they put me in the back of a military jeep. They threw me on my stomach on the metal floor of the jeep. 
 
Then they drove to the police station in Etzion settlement where I was left outside on the tarmac. I asked to use a toilet but they did not allow me. I asked the soldiers to loosen up the ties but they refused. Then a soldier who spoke Arabic came by. I asked him to loosen the ties and he did but then when he left the other soldiers tightened them again and left me alone. I could not sleep because my hands swelled and were hurting. I was left out in the cold weather from around 3:30 a.m. until around 9:00 a.m. Then I was taken for interrogation.
 
The interrogator removed the blindfold but kept me tied. He later took them off during the interrogation. I told the interrogator I wanted to call my parents. He told me I had to confess first and then he would allow me to call my parents. Then he phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me not to confess and not to worry. The interrogator left the room during the conversation which lasted less than two minutes. 
 
Then the interrogator came back and told me I had the right to remain silent. Later when I wanted to practice my right to silence he yelled at me and thumped the table aggressively. Then he accused me of throwing a Molotov cocktail at a policeman and told me my friends had confessed against me. I denied the accusation. He questioned me for about three hours and wanted me to give him the name of the trouble-makers in the village. 
 
At one point two other interrogators entered the room and took turns in questioning me. The interrogation was recorded on a voice recorder. The interrogators were aggressive and raised their voices at me. One of them thumped the table when I refused to answer his questions. I continued to deny the accusation and did not give any names.
 
At the end of the interrogation I was not asked to sign any documents but they took my photograph and my fingerprints. Then I was handcuffed again searched in my boxer shorts before being taken to a cell. I waited about an hour and then I was taken in a troop carrier to Ofer prison where I was strip searched before being taken to section 18.
 
The following day I had a military court hearing via Zoom. My parents were not informed and they did not attend. My detention was extended and the hearing was adjourned. I had eight more hearings and at the last one, which was 10 days before I was released, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to 50 days in prison and fined NIS 2,000. I also received another 10 months in prison suspended for three years with a further fine of NIS 4,500 if arrested again. I accepted the plea bargain because I knew I was going home in 10 days. 
 
I was released from Ofer on 22 November 2021 and I went home with my mother, my uncle and my grandmother. We arrived home at around 10:00 p.m. My mother spent her whole day waiting for me at Ofer to be released and did not have time to cook a meal.  In prison I attended classes in Arabic. I did not have any family visits because the permit takes a long time.