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Testimony: M.W.N.T.


Name: M.W.N.T.
Age: 16
Date: 3 January 2017
Location: Beit Fajjar, West Bank
Accusation: Weapon possession

On 3 January 2017, a 16-year-old youth from Beit Fajjar is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:00 a.m. and accused of weapon possession. He is interrogated without prior access to a lawyer. He spends 5 months in prison.

I was still awake at 2:00 a.m. when Israeli soldiers banged at the front door. My father answered the door. The soldiers immediately asked all of us to gather in the living room and the Commander asked for me.
Once I identified myself I was taken to another room and the Commander started to question me about a piece of weapon he claimed I possessed. I told him I did not possess any weapons. He accused me of lying and a soldier slapped and punched me. Then the Commander brought my father to the room and told him they needed the weapon. My father asked me about the weapon and I told him I had no idea what they were talking about.
The soldiers spent about two hours searching the house and the surroundings. Then they took me outside and took a photo of me. Then they tied my hands to the front with one plastic tie which was painful. They also blindfolded me. I was then led towards the centre oftown. They did not give us any documents about my arrest. Then I was put in the back of a jeep and made to sit on the metal floor while they made more arrests.
The jeep then drove to the police station in Etzion settlement. We arrived there at around 6:00 a.m. At Etzion I was examined by a doctor who removed the blindfold during the examination. Then I was taken to a very small room which resembled a small bathroom not more than 1.5 X 2 meters where they made me sit on the floor for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes I was taken to another room together with other boys they had detained. The soldiers told us we were not allowed to speak to each other.
At around 8:00 a.m. I was taken to a courtyard where I sat on the ground until around 3:00 p.m. During this time I was allowed to use the toilet and I was given some food. Then I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator removed the blindfold but kept the tie. Before interrogating me he gave me a document which said I had the right to remain silent and the right to consult with a lawyer and that remaining silent would not help me in court. He did not call a lawyer or my parents. Then he accused me of firing five times at the settlement using a pipe and of throwing stones and Molotov cocktail at soldiers. He told me there were confessions against me by other boys. I was scared and feared he might implicate me in all these serious accusations so I confessed to firing at the settlement twice.
After the interrogation they took my photograph and my fingerprints and strip searched me. I was then taken to a cell where they removed the tie. At around 2:00 a.m. I was taken to Ofer prison where I was strip searched again and put in Section 13.
The following day I was taken to Ofer military court. My lawyer was there but my parents were not informed so they did not attend. The hearing was adjourned. My parents attended the second hearing and I was allowed to speak to them. After the hearing I was taken to the police station in the settlement of Kiryat Arba for more questioning.
I was questioned for about 30 minutes over the same accusations except that I was also accused of shooting at a soldier and injuring him. I denied this accusation. Then the interrogator printed out my statement in Hebrew and asked me to sign it but I refused. I was then taken back to Ofer prison.
I had about 12 hearings in the military court and in the end my lawyer accepted a plea bargain which included amending the charge sheet. In the amended charge sheet I was accused of making and possessing a pipe bomb. I was sentenced to six months in prison and fined 3,000 shekels. I also received a one year sentence suspended for five years. I accepted the plea bargain.
I spent two months at Ofer but I was then transferred to Megiddo prison inside Israel. I was released at Al Jalame checkpoint on 19 May 2017 and I went home with my parents. In prison I studied Arabic and Mathematics.