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Home » Children »

Testimony: I.I.M.T.

 

Name: I.I.M.T.
Age: 14
Date: 5 December 2018
Location: Al Arrub, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones
 
On 5 December 2018, a 14-year-old boy from Al Arrub refugee camp is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 3:00 a.m. He reports speaking to a lawyer on the phone for 1 minute prior to interrogation but not being informed of his right to silence.
 
My mother woke me up at around 3:00 a.m. and told me to go downstairs to open the door. I got up and went downstairs and about 15 Israeli soldiers entered the building. 
 
The commander had a document with him and told me someone had to sign the arrest document which had my name on it. My father signed the document and the commander told me I had 1 minute to get dressed. 
 
I barely had time to tie my shoes before the soldiers dragged me outside where they tied my hands behind my back with 2 plastic ties on top of each other. The ties were very tight and painful and left marks on my wrists for weeks. They also blindfolded me.
 
I was then led towards the metal gate installed by the army at the entrance to our refugee camp. A soldier punched me in the stomach while I was blindfolded and caused me a lot of pain.
 
Then I was taken to the back of a military vehicle where I sat on the floor between the soldiers’ legs. A soldier held my head down all the way to the police station in Etzion settlement. 
 
At Etzion I was taken to a room where I was left on a blanket on the floor until around 6:00 a.m. I could not sleep at all and I was not given any food or drink.
 
At around 6:00 a.m. I was taken for interrogation. The interrogator removed the ties and the blindfold and allowed me to speak to a lawyer on the phone. He put his phone on speaker while I talked to the lawyer. The lawyer asked me whether it was my first arrest and told me not to worry and not to confess. He told me I had the right to remain silent. The conversation lasted for about 1 minute and the interrogator heard everything. 
 
Without informing me of my right to silence the interrogator asked me whether I wanted to be “straightforward or crooked” with him. I told him I was willing to be straight forward if he was straightforward with me and I explained that I was not going to confess to anything I did not do. 
 
Then the interrogator told me there were confessions against me by 2 boys form the camp. I told him my family had recently moved into the camp and I did not know anyone there. He told me the 2 boys had confessed that I threw stones and a Molotov cocktail at soldiers. He named the 2 boys and I told him I did not know the boys and I denied the accusation. 
 
The interrogator told me that my denial was not going to help me. He kept repeating the same accusations and I kept denying them. He thumped the table several times and called me “a son of a whore”. He accused me of being “crooked” and played a voice recording of the two boys confessing against me. In the end he showed me documents in Hebrew and asked me to sign them but I refused to sign. 
 
Then he took me to see another interrogator. The second interrogator did not inform me of my rights and told me to answer in yes or no. He had a voice recorder on his desk and was typing on a computer. He mentioned a specific date and accused me of throwing a Molotov cocktail at soldiers. I denied the accusation. He questioned me for about an hour and was angry the whole time. He showed me documents in Hebrew and asked me to sign them but I refused to sign. He then took me back to see the first interrogator.
 
The first interrogator accused me of the same accusations and insisted that I had to confess. Then he accused me of possessing a hunting gun and I denied it. In the end I confessed to throwing 1 stone from a distance of 200 meters which missed. I confessed to throwing a stone because I was afraid he would implicate me in more serious offenses. He showed me documents in Hebrew and asked me to sign but I refused to sign.
 
After the interrogation they took my photograph and fingerprints and then took me to a cell where I was strip searched. They gave me some food which was unappetising and I could not eat it but I was able to sleep for a couple of hours. 
 
At around 7:00 p.m. I was taken to Ofer prison where I was strip searched again and I was asked to crouch up and down. Then I was taken into the juvenile section. 
 
The following day I was taken to Ofer militayr court. My parents were not informed about the hearing and so they did not attend. The hearing was adjourned. 
 
In all I had about 13 military court hearings. I asked my lawyer to keep adjourning because I thought by the time I was sentenced I would have little time left to spend in prison. On 20 February 2019 I was sentenced in a plea bargain to 4 months in prison and fined 2,000 shekels. I also received a suspended sentence of 1 year in prison valid for 5 years. I accepted the plea bargain because the prosecutor wanted to sentence me to 6 months in prison.
 
I spent most of my prison sentence at Ofer where I studied Arabic, Hebrew and Mathematics. I also exercised a lot and lifted weights. 18 days before I was released I was transferred to Megiddo prison inside Israel. I found this very hard to cope with. My parents did not visit me in prison because they were not issued a permit in time. 
 
I was released on the 21 March 2019 and I went home with my family. I arrived home at around 9:00 p.m.