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Testimony: K.W.H.M.


Name: K.W.H.M.
Age: 15
Date: 14 September 2018
Location: Beit Ummar, West Bank
Accusation: Protesting/throwing stones

On 14 September 2018, a 15-year-old youth from Beit Ummar is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 3:00 p.m. during clashes in his village. He reports being interrogated without prior access to a lawyer or being informed of his right to silence. 

An Israeli military jeep entered our village during Friday prayers. At around 3:00 p.m. young people from the village started to throw stones at the jeep and clashes erupted. I suddenly found myself ambushed by a soldier. 
The soldier immediately kicked me on the side and caused me a lot of pain. He was wearing a mask and had a gun on his side. He pushed me against a wall and then pushed me to the ground. He slapped me on the neck and face and another soldier joined him. He punched me in the stomach and kicked me all over my body. I was in such pain that I felt I was going to pass out. 
The soldiers then led me 500 metres towards the military watchtower at the entrance to our village. I found it hard to walk and lost my balance. I was taken inside the watchtower and a soldier took my parents’ phone numbers. Then they blindfolded me and tied my hands to the back with 3 plastic ties: one on each wrist and another connecting the two. The ties were very tight and very painful. 
About half an hour later I was put in the back of a military jeep where I sat on the metal floor. The jeep drove to the police station in Etzion settlement. At the entrance to the police station I was transferred into another car which drove me to the police station in the settlement of Kiryat Arba. 
On arrival at Kiryat Arba I was left in an open area and the soldiers who passed by swore at me calling me “a son of a whore”. I was left outside until around 3:30 p.m. and then I was taken for interrogation. By this time I was exhausted.
The interrogator was in civilian clothes. He removed the ties and the blindfold. He did not inform me of my rights but called my father and told him to appoint a lawyer for me. Then he turned his computer screen towards me and showed me video footage and photographs of the clashes in the village and accused me of taking part. I denied the accusation. The interrogator was upset when I denied the accusation. He repeated the accusation and raised his voice this time and frowned at me and accused me of lying. I continued to deny the accusation.
The interrogation lasted for about an hour. During this time the interrogator wanted me to confess to throwing stones at soldiers during clashes in the village but I continued to deny the accusation the whole time. Then he showed me documents in Arabic and asked me to sign them but I refused to sign and told him I could not read. 
After the interrogation I was photographed and fingerprinted. Then my hands were toed to the front. Then I was taken in a vehicle to Etzion police station. 
At Etzion I was examined by a doctor and then I was taken to a cell where I was strip searched and the ties were removed. I could not sleep, I was tired and shaken and in pain because of the beatings. I was also hungry. Then a person came to my cell and saw the bruises on my face and neck and told me I had to show this to the judge in court.
In the morning I was handcuffed and shackled and taken for another round of interrogation. The interrogator introduced himself as “Captain Omar”. He did not inform me of my rights He told me he knew everything there was to know about me. He told me where I was one evening and with whom and I was quite shocked with the accuracy of the information he had about me. Then he told me he was going to make me spend the rest of my life in prison. Then he told me he wanted me to behave myself from now on or else he was going to kill me. He told me it was very easy for him to arrange for a patrol to shoot me and throw my body in a field.
Then the interrogator wanted me to tell him where I had hidden the pipe used to make pipe bombs. I told him I was not involved in such things. Then he told me to avoid having him find it himself because that would be a terrible thing for me and my family. Then he told me if I was willing to tell him where the pipe was he would release me today. I swore to him I did not have any pipes hidden anywhere. Then he patted me on the back and told me sarcastically this time it was not going to be a long time in prison, only 6-7 months.
After the interrogation I was driven to Ofer prison where I was strip searched before being taken to Section 13. It was around 2:00 p.m.
The following day I was taken to Ofer military court. My father attended the hearing. The military judge extended my detention and the hearing was adjourned without saying anything about the bruises I still had on my face. 
In all I had about five military court hearings. At the last hearing I was sentenced in a plea bargain to 45 days in prison and fined 1,000 shekels. I also received a suspended sentence of one year in prison valid for four years. My lawyer encouraged me to accept the plea bargain and told me it was based on photographic evidence.
I was released on 14 October 2018, about 2 weeks earlier than expected because of good conduct. I was released at around 3:00 p.m. at Beit Sira checkpoint although my parents were told I was going to be released at Ofer. I borrowed a telephone to call my father and my father told the driver to bring me to Beitunia. I arrived at home at around 9:00 p.m. I ate and went to bed.
In prison I exercised a lot and lifted weights. My parents visited me once.