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Testimony: A.K.M.K.


Name: A.K.M.K.
Age: 16
Date: 29 November 2020
Location: Al Arrub, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones

On 29 November 2020, a 16-year-old minor from Al Arrub is detained by Israeli soldiers on his way home from school. He reports being interrogated several times but only being informed of his legal rights on the first occasion. 

I left school early because of an event and went to buy a falafel sandwich on my way home. It was around 10:00 a.m. Suddenly three Israeli military jeeps drove towards the falafel shop where I was waiting in line and the soldiers started to chase everyone. 
A soldier grabbed me and slapped me hard on my face. He also verbally abused me. Then he tied my hands to the front with one plastic tie and tightened it hard. I was in pain and the tie left marks on my wrists for days. Then he blindfolded me and walked me to the gate by the entrance to the camp. I was left there for about 30 minutes and the military commander took a photo of me on his mobile phone.
About 30 minutes later I was put in a troop carrier and made to sit on the metal floor. The troop carrier drove to the police station in Etzion settlement where I was left in an outdoor area in the cold weather for about 30 minutes before being taken for interrogation. By that time it was around 11:00 a.m.
The interrogator was in civilian clothes. He removed the blindfold and the tie and turned a voice recorder on. Then he phoned a lawyer and handed me the telephone to speak to him. The lawyer told me not to confess and, god willing, I was going to be released soon. He told me not to worry. The conversation was very brief. Then the interrogator told me it was fine with him if I did not answer his questions because I had the right to remain silent. 
Then he accused me of throwing stones at soldiers. I denied the accusation. He was calm in the beginning but when I denied the accusation he became angry and raised his voice at me. The louder he spoke the louder I told him I denied the accusation and this upset him. Then he claimed I denied the accusation because I was too scared to confess. I told him I was not scared.   He questioned me for about five minutes and did not ask me to sign any documents. 
Then he took me to see another interrogator who was in police uniform. This one did not allow me to speak to a lawyer and did not inform me of my right to silence. He repeated the same accusation and typed my answers on his computer. Then he printed out my statement in Hebrew and asked me to provide my fingerprint on a devise attached to the computer. I gave my fingerprint without understanding what I signed on.
Then they took me to another room where I was photographed and fingerprinted. Then I was taken back to the courtyard where I was left until around 3:00 a.m. Then I was taken to a settlement where I was left on the floor of a shipping container and then I was taken to the quarantine section at Megiddo prison inside Israel. At Megiddo I was searched in my boxer shorts. I spent 14 days in the quarantine section together with five other boys before being taken to the juvenile section.
Three days after my arrest I had a military court hearing on video link. My parents were not informed and they did not attend the hearing. The military judge extended my detention to give the lawyer and the prosecutor more time to study my file. 
I had two more military court hearings and at the last one my lawyer struck a deal with the prosecutor without consulting me. He told the court I accepted a plea bargain where I confessed to throwing stones. My father had to pay NIS 3,000 and the lawyer told me I had a suspended sentence but he did not give me the details. 
I was released immediately after the hearing on 16 December 2020 at Al Jalama checkpoint and I went home with my father. We arrived home at around 9:00 p.m.