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Testimony: R.I.Y.F.


Name: R.I.Y.F.
Age: 17
Date: 10 December 2019
Location: Deir Abu Misha'al, West Bank
Accusation: Protesting

On 10 December 2019, a 17-year-old minor from Deir Abu Misha’al was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:00 a.m. He reports being interrogated multiple times without always being informed of his legal rights prior to questioning. 

I was asleep when Israeli soldiers started banging at our front door and woke me up. It was around 2:00 a.m. My father opened the door and six soldiers entered our home. They wanted to check our identity cards and the commander asked me for my name. 
The commander then showed me photos on his mobile phone of clashes with soldiers in our village. He asked me whether I was in any of the photos and I told him I was not. The soldiers then checked my wardrobe for particular clothes and then I was told I was under arrest. The soldiers did not give us any documents.
Once outside the soldiers tied my hands to the front with three plastic ties: one on each wrist and another connecting the two. The ties were not painful. They also blindfolded me before taking me to the back of a military jeep where I sat on a seat.
The jeep drove to a nearby military base where I was taken to a shipping container. A female military doctor examined me and asked me whether I took any medication. She removed the blindfold during the examination. I was left in the container until around noon and then I was taken to a police station near the village of Ni’lin. 
At the police station I was left in an open area and a soldier was beside me the whole time. In the afternoon I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator removed the blindfold and told me I was not supposed to give a confession under duress and that I had the right to consult with a lawyer. Then he phoned a lawyer for me and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told not to worry and to stick to my position. The interrogator left the room during the phone call which lasted for about two minutes.
Then the interrogator told me I had the right to remain silent and asked me whether I threw stones at soldiers. I told him I did not. Then he pulled out the T-Shirt and the boots they took from my bedroom and told me he had the evidence. Still, I denied the accusation. Then he told me I took part in clashes with soldiers in the village on 15 September 2019. The interrogator was clam and told me he was going to send me to Ofer prison. He also told me he was going to bring me back for another interrogation if I did not confess then and told me it was better for me to confess rather than be brought back to the police station.
I was interrogated for about an hour. In the end he asked me to sign on my statement which was written in Arabic and I signed it after I read it. Then I was taken back to the military base where the soldiers picked up another detainee and then I was taken to Ofer prison. At Ofer I was strip searched before being taken to section 13. 
The following day I had a military court hearing. My parents did not attend because they were not informed. A lawyer was there and the court extended my detention.
I had about 15 military court hearings. During this time I was interrogated three times. I was not informed of my rights and did not speak to any lawyers. I was questioned about the same thing for about 30 minutes each time and I continued to deny the accusation. 
At my last hearing, which was on 25 March 2020, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to four months in prison and fined NIS 2,000. I also received a suspended sentence of six months valid for three years. This was based on photographic identification. My lawyer advised me to accept the plea bargain and told me the prison sentence would be longer if I rejected it. I also accepted it because it meant I would be released soon.
I spent my whole prison sentence at Ofer prison. My parents did not visit me because they were not issued a visiting permit in time. Then all family visits were banned because of the Corina Virus. 
I was supposed to be granted early release but the court that decides on early releases was not functioning. Instead, I was released on 8 April 2020. I were dropped off near a Palestinian checkpoint and a Palestinian ambulance took me to a hotel in Ramallah where I had to self-quarantine. I spent a few days at the hotel and then I was allowed to self-quarantine in a separate room at home.