|Date:||19 May 2020|
|Location:||Yabad, West Bank|
On 19 May 2020, a 16-year-old minor from Yabad was arrested by Israeli soldiers at around 11:00 a.m. He reports consulting with a lawyer prior to interrogation but believes the interrogator told him silence would imply guilt.
I was not at home when Israeli soldiers raided our home at around 10:00 a.m. They searched the house and said they were looking for me. The commander phoned me and told me to hand myself in because he wanted to question me about throwing stones. He threatened if I did not show up within an hour he was going to arrest my mother and brother. He called me many times and I went home as requested.
As soon as I arrived home the soldiers took me to the living room and brought my father in. The commander told my father he was going to take me to the police station in Ariel settlement for questioning because I was a trouble maker. Then he gave my father a document filled out in Hebrew with details about my arrest.
A soldier then tied my hands behind my back with three plastic ties: one on each wrist and another connecting the two. The ties were extremely tight and painful and left marks on my wrists for weeks. He also blindfolded me. I was then led outside where I was put in the back of a military jeep where I was made to sit on the metal floor between the soldiers’ legs.
The jeep drove to the nearby settlement of Mevo Dotan. At the settlement I was taken to a shipping container where I was left for about six hours. Then I was taken to Ariel settlement for interrogation.
The interrogator removed the blindfold and spoke to me via an interpreter. She told me if I did not speak it would imply I was guilty. Then she asked me if I wanted to consult with a lawyer and she phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer advised me to remain silent and told me not to speak about anything I did not know much about.
Then the interrogator told me she had confessions against me and showed me photographs of clashes with soldiers and accused me of taking part. I denied the accusation. The interrogator was calm but the interpreter was aggressive and spoke to me in a loud voice and wanted me to confess. He tried to confuse me and put words in my mouth. I was questioned for about two hours. During this time the interrogator wanted me to give her names of boys who throw stones at soldiers and take part in clashes. I did not give her any names. At the end of the interrogation she gave me documents written in Hebrew and wanted me to sign them but I refused to sign until they were translated for me.
After the interrogation I was taken to Huwwara military base where I was strip searched before being taken to a cell. I remained in the cell, which I shared with another detainee, for 16 days. The cell was very small and had one small window up by the ceiling. I went crazy in the cell after a few days and to let out my frustrations I smeared the walls with the cream cheese they gave me.
After 16 days I was taken to Megiddo prison inside Israel. At Megiddo the metal detector machine went off and the prison authorities thought I was smuggling a telephone into prison. They took me to an Israeli hospital for an X-Ray to determine what triggered the machine. At the hospital they did not find anything wrong. Then I was taken back to Megiddo where I was strip searched before being taken to a nearby checkpoint where I was held in the quarantine section for 14 days.
Three days after my arrest, while I was still at Huwwara, I had a military court hearing via a video link. My parents did not take part and the hearing was adjourned. I had six military court hearings and on the seventh one I was sentenced in a plea bargain to two months in prison and a fine of NIS 3,000. I also received a suspended sentence of one year in prison valid for one-and-a-half years. I accepted the plea bargain because the prosecutor dropped four out of the five items on the charge sheet and kept only one which was stone throwing.
I spent my prison sentence at Megiddo. There were no family visits because of the Corona Virus but the prison management provided pay phones for minors. I phoned my family once every two weeks.
I was released on 16 July 2020 and I went home with a whole group of my family who had come to the checkpoint to pick me up.
This testimony was produced with the financial support of the German Federal Foreign Office. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Military Court Watch.