|Date:||25 September 2017|
|Location:||Jayyus, Wesrt Bank|
On 25 September 2017, a 15-year-old youth from Jayyus is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 1:30 a.m. He reports that he was denied access to a lawyer and was not informed of his right to silence under Israeli military law.
I woke up to the sound of very loud banging at around 1:30 a.m. I got up and discovered that Israeli soldiers were banging on my grandparents’ door next door. Then I heard the soldiers ask my cousin about me and my cousin told them he did not know where I was.
Soon afterwards about 10 soldiers walked towards our house, two of them were wearing face masks. My father was not home so my mother rushed and opened the front door before they started banging. The soldiers immediately told everyone to step back from the door. My uncle came to our house to give support to my mother.
I was standing next to my brother and the commander took me aside and asked to see my wardrobe. He was looking for a particular shirt and threw all the clothes on the floor. When he did not find the shirt he was looking for he looked inside the washing machine and found it there and took a photo of it. Then he told me I was under arrest and shouted at my mother to bring my ID card and telephone. Then the soldiers took me outside without giving my family any documents.
Outside the house they tied my hands behind my back with two plastic ties on top of each other. The ties were tight and painful and left marks on my wrists. I told the commander I was in pain and he replaced the ties with metal handcuffs which he tied to the front and they were not painful. Then a soldier blindfolded me painfully. When I told him I had had surgery in my eye and the blindfold was too tight he tightened it even more.
Then I was taken to the back of a military jeep and I banged my head because I could not see. The soldiers laughed at me. Inside the jeep I sat on a seat. They allowed my uncle to accompany me and they wanted to tie and blindfold him too but he refused and told them he was not under arrest.
The jeep drove to another house and the soldiers arrested another boy. Then the two of us were taken to the military base at Zufin. The driver had the air conditioner on very cold although the weather was cold. The jeep stopped on the way and a soldier took me outside the jeep, removed the blindfold and took a photo of me with the shirt they took out of the washing machine. He blindfolded me again and took me back to the jeep which drove to the military base.
At the base a soldier removed the blindfold and asked me some medical questions and whether I was beaten. He made me sign the medical questionnaire which was in Arabic and I did. Then I was re-blindfolded and taken in a jeep to the police station in Ariel settlement.
We arrived at Ariel at around 6:00 a.m. I waited on the floor of a room until around 3:00 p.m. During this time, I was allowed to use the toilet. At around 3:00 p.m. I was taken for interrogation and they allowed my uncle to attend the interrogation.
The interrogator wore a police uniform. He removed the blindfold but kept my handcuffs on. There was a computer, a printer and a pistol on his table. He did not inform me of my rights. He asked me why I threw stones at soldiers on 21 July 2017. I denied the accusation. Then he told me I had to confess and if I did not my life would be destroyed. He also threatened to lock me up in a small cell in solitary confinement if I did not confess. Still, I denied the accusation.
My uncle intervened and told the interrogator I was not involved in anything and I did not go near the Wall where the clashes took place. The interrogator then kicked him out of the interrogation room. This was about 10 minutes into the interrogation. Then he continued to threaten me. He said he was going to lock me up in prison for a long time if I did not confess. He also threatened to bring my father and said he would lock him up too.
Then he tried to put words in my mouth. He asked me whether I threw 20 or 30 or 40 stones. I told him I did not throw any stones. Then he showed me photos during clashes and told me I was amongst the boys throwing stones. He also wanted me to give him the names of the boys. Then he raised his voice at me and swore at god. I felt I was under tremendous pressure and I decided to confess.
I confessed to throwing 10 stones from a short distance. I told him I took part in the clashes because I wanted to defend Al Aqsa. He started to laugh when I said this and phoned his wife and started to chat with her. Then he pealed an orange and started to eat it. The interrogation lasted for about two hours.
Towards the end of the interrogation the interrogator wanted me to sign on the photos but I refused. I was scared and asked for a lawyer. He told me there were no lawyers and that I had to sign on the pictures. He told me he was going to keep me in the room for a long time until I signed, even if it takes days. In the end I decided to sign. He did not ask me to sign any other documents.
After the interrogation I was taken to Huwwara military base. I was left waiting outside in the sun for about 30 minutes and then I was allowed in. I was searched in my underwear and then I was taken to a cell with another detainee. They brought me some unappetising food and I could not eat it. While I was there a lawyer came to see me and asked me whether I had confessed and I told him I had.
At around 9:00 p.m. I was taken to Megiddo prison inside Israel. At Megiddo I was strip searched and asked to crouch up and down. I asked to see a lawyer and a soldier told me there were no lawyers in prison. Then I was taken to the juvenile section and I slept.
The following day I was taken to Salem military court. My father and a lawyer were there. The hearing was adjourned. I had about seven military court hearings. At the last hearing I was sentenced in a plea bargain to seven months in prison and fined 2,000 shekels. I also received a suspended sentence of six months suspended for five years. I accepted the plea bargain because I was told I would spend 16 months in prison if I did not.
In prison I was in charge of cleaning. I also attended Arabic and mathematics classes and I was given a certificate. My parents visited me in prison seven times but only three months after I was arrested because the permit took time to be issued.
My grandfather died while I was in prison and I found it very hard to cope. I was released on 3 April 2018 and I went home with my father. My mother cried when she saw me and we all had a nice meal together.