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Testimony: A.T.M.Z.


Name: A.T.M.Z.
Age: 15
Date of incident: 15 November 2016
Location: Husan, West Bank
Accusation: Starting a fire
On 15 November 2016, a 15-year-old youth is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 1:30 a.m. and accused of starting a fire near the settlement of Bitar Ilit. He is released without charge 9 days later.
At around 1:30 a.m. I woke up to the sound of aggressive banging at our front door. My father opened the door and a group of Israeli soldiers entered and asked my father to bring all the boys and men to one room with their identity cards.
Once we were gathered in one room the soldiers checked our details and then they told my father they wanted to arrest me. They gave my father a document and asked him to sign it. Then they told him they wanted to question me at the police station at Bitar Ilit settlement because I was accused of starting a fire. They told my father they would question me for a few hours and would return me home. Then they told me to get ready.
Once I was ready they took me outside and immediately tied my hands to the front with one plastic tie which was tight. Then they blindfolded me and took me to the back of a jeep and made me sit on the floor.
The jeep drove for about 10 minutes to the nearby settlement where I was put in a shipping container where I waited on a chair. Then I was examined by a doctor who removed the blindfold and after examining me he put it back on. Then I was taken back to the shipping container where I slept on a chair until around 7:00 a.m. During this time I was allowed to use the toilet and to drink some water but I wasn’t given any food.
At around 7:00 a.m. I was taken back to the jeep where I sat on the floor again. The jeep drove for about 15 minutes to the settlement of Etzion where I was immediately taken for interrogation.
The interrogator wore civilian clothes. He removed the tie and the blindfold but during the interrogation he was upset when I didn’t confess and handcuffed me to the front. I was questioned by more than one interrogator in a number of sessions. The first interrogator told me I had the right to consult with a lawyer. He gave me a document written in both Arabic and Hebrew and asked me to sign it and I did. The document said I had the right to consult with a lawyer. He then called my parents and told them I was at Etzion police station. He did not allow me to speak to my parents.
Then he accused me of throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at soldiers. I denied the accusations. Then he told me he had photographs of me throwing stones at soldiers. I asked him to show me the photographs but he never did. Then he told me other boys confessed against me and named some of them. I still denied the accusations. The first round of interrogation lasted for about 90 minutes. Then he took me to a courtyard where I waited for about two hours. During this time I was tied and blindfolded. Soldiers then took me for a second round of interrogation. The soldiers removed the blindfold.
There was an Israeli policeman and an interrogator in civilian clothes in the room. The policeman was rude to me. He shouted and called me a "son of a whore", and said things like "fuck your mother and sister". He slapped me and beat me with a broom stick on my back. I was terrified. He punched me and started to question me about the same allegations. I continued to deny the accusations.  The interrogator in civilian clothes who was in the room translated from Hebrew to Arabic. The second session of interrogation lasted for about 15 minutes. I was then taken back to the courtyard where I was blindfolded and I sat on a chair for about an hour.
After about an hour in the courtyard I was taken for a third round of interrogation. This time it was the policeman again. He threatened that if I didn’t confess he was going to revoke my father’s work permit. He slapped me again and after 15 minutes he took me to another interrogator.
The fourth interrogator questioned me for about an hour and repeated the same accusations. He then sent me back to the policeman who typed up my statement in Hebrew and asked me to sign it but I refused.
Then they took my fingerprints and my photograph. Then they took me to a cell after strip searching me. I was given some food.
At around 9:00 p.m. I was shackled and handcuffed to the front and put in an Israeli police car which drove for about 90 minutes to Ofer prison. At Ofer I was strip searched again and taken to Section 13.
The following day I was taken to Ofer military court. My parents attended and I was allowed to speak to them. The hearing was adjourned. One day before the following hearing was scheduled I was released. My parents were not notified. I was released without charge on 23 November 2016 at around 6:00 p.m. I took a taxi home and I arrived home at around 8:00 p.m.