|Date:||15 January 2019|
|Location:||Beit Fajjar, West Bank|
On 15 January 2019, a 15-year-old minor from Beit Fajjar was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:30 a.m. He reports being interrogated several times and not being properly informed of his legal rights on both occasions.
I woke up at around 2:30 a.m. when I heard a commotion outside our house. I looked out the window and saw a large group of Israeli soldiers. I was scared and went back to bed and pretended to be asleep.
Shortly afterwards a soldier shone a torch into my bedroom and then started to bang aggressively at the front door. One soldier was shouting at us telling us to open the door up. My father ran to the front door and opened it just before the soldiers blew it open.
About 20 soldiers entered our home. The commander asked my father for his children’s names. First he wanted to arrest my brother but then realised he had made a mistake and told my father he wanted to arrest me.
The commander took me to my bedroom and told me if I handed over the “weapon” he would not arrest me. He told me my friend had confessed against me and because he had confessed they had already released him. I told him I did not have any weapons.
Then he called my father over and told him I had weapons and urged him to make me bring out the weapons otherwise they were going to hurt me. When I repeated I did not have any weapons he told me he was going to take me for an hour for questioning at my friend’s house and would bring me back. I told him I wanted to say goodbye to my family but he did not allow this. He told me there was no need to say goodbye because he was going to bring me back soon. Then he gave my father a document about my arrest which was filled out in Hebrew and then they took me away.
Outside the house a soldier tied my hands behind my back with two plastic ties on top of each other. They were very tight and caused me a lot of pain and left marks on my wrists for a long time. Then they walked me towards my friend’s house.
When we arrived at my friend’s house the soldiers made me turn my face to the wall, lift my hands up and open my legs apart. Then they brought my friend and said he had confessed against me. My friend denied he had ever confessed against me. The commander raised his voice against me and my friend and accused us both of lying.
Then I was blindfolded and taken to the back of a military jeep where I sat on a seat. The jeep drove to the police station in Etzion settlement. On the way soldiers made fun of me.
When we arrived at Etzion I was taken out of the jeep and a soldier held me by my neck and walked me inside the police station. He pushed me to hurry up but I could not because I was blindfolded. They took me to a room and the soldiers who were there punched me in the head to entertain themselves. I could not sleep because a soldier woke me up by pushing my head each time I tried to fall asleep.
At around 8:00 a.m. I was taken to an interrogation room. A settler who passed by spat in my face and punched me in the stomach. I could see him from under the blindfold.
I was taken to a room and the commander came in and told me to behave myself and cooperate with the interrogator if I did not want to be hurt. He told me they would send me home if I confessed. He also told me if I agreed to work with them he would also send me home.
I was left in the room for about two hours. Each time I leaned against the wall to rest my head a soldier would wake me up and threaten to pour water on my head. Then I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator removed the ties and the blindfold. He had a voice recorder on his desk and he turned it on. Then he phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me the most important thing was for me to remain silent and not say a word. He also told me he had told my parents I was at Etzion police station. The conversation lasted for less than a minute and the interrogator was listening because I was on speaker phone. Then the interrogator told me I had the right to remain silent but later when I remained silent he shouted at me and told me to answer his questions.
The interrogator then told me my lawyer knew exactly what I had done and told me I should give the interrogator all the details. I told him I had not done anything wrong. Then he accused me of throwing a Molotov cocktail and of stealing spent bullets from the training field near our village. Then he brought a piece of paper and wrote on it the numbers 1 – 10 and told me I had to confess against 10 boys. I told him I never threw stones and did not know anyone who did. Then he told me to try to remember names and when I told him I could not remember any names he punched me in the head and raised his voice and told me I had to confess against 10 boys.
The interrogator then threatened to send me to “the room next door where you will be tortured”. I could hear the sound of a drill coming from the room next door and the interrogator told me it was the sound of torture, and if I did not confess I would be sent there to be tortured. I denied everything and did not confess.
The interrogation lasted for about 15 minutes. Then I was taken to a dark room where I could clearly hear the sound of the drill. About 10 minutes later I was taken back to the interrogation room.
The interrogator asked me whether I could hear the sound of the drill. Then he told me I should be grateful he was nice to me and did not allow them to torture me, and I should confess. I told him I had nothing to confess to. Then he told me to try to remember names and that I had to confess. In the end I confessed to throwing stones about six months earlier. I was tired and scared.
The interrogator then wanted to know who was throwing stones with me. I told him I was by myself. Then he showed me documents in Hebrew and asked me to sign them and I did.
After I signed the documents they took my photograph and fingerprints and then strip searched me. I was then taken to a cell where I spent the night. The following day I was taken to Ofer prison where I was strip searched again.
The following day I was taken to Ofer military court. The hearing was adjourned. My parents were not there because they were not informed.
Two days before I was released I was taken to the police station at Kiryat Arba for another interrogation. The interrogator told me to confess to throwing stones if I wanted to go home. I denied the accusation and denied I had confessed earlier.
Halfway through the interrogation he asked me if I wanted to speak to a lawyer and he phone one and I spoke to him. The lawyer told me I had the right to remain silent and told me to try not to confess to anything so that I could go home soon. Then, without informing me of my right to silence, the interrogator accused me again of throwing stones and I denied it. Then I was taken to a room where I waited for about two hours and then I was taken back to Ofer.
I had four military court hearings. At the last hearing I did not even go into the court room and instead I was told I was going to be released. I was released without charge on 22 January 2019 and I went home with my father. I was so relieved.