||31 July 2021
||Tubas, West Bank
On 31 July 2021, a 17-year-old minor from Tubas was arrested by Israeli soldiers during clashes at a military checkpoint at 6:00 p.m. and accused of throwing stones. He reports ill treatment and being denied his basic legal rights under Israeli military law. He was sentenced to 2 months in prison and fined NIS 5,000. He also received a suspended sentence.
One of the political leaders in my village called for a peaceful demonstration at a nearby Israeli military checkpoint and a group of us responded. Some young men set fire to tyres, others threw stones at soldiers and I raised a Palestinian flag. About 40 soldiers tried to disperse us. I could see the soldiers surrounding us and I heard the leader tell us not to leave while he walked away.
Shortly afterwards I was hit by two rubber bullets fired by soldiers; one in the stomach and the other in my knee. A soldier then grabbed me and beat me with the back of his gun on my head, back and leg. The soldiers swore at me in Hebrew and Arabic calling me "a son of a whore".
Soon afterwards a soldier tied my hands behind my back with two plastic ties on top of each other and tightened them hard. I was in pain and the ties left marks on my wrists for two months. Then he blindfolded me and took me to a troop carrier and made me kneel down on the metal floor. Then a soldier tied me to a seat and slapped me while I was tied and blindfolded.
I was taken to the police station in Binyamin settlement where I was put in a small room and my ties were removed. I was examined by a doctor and when I told him I was badly beaten up by the soldiers he did not say or do anything. He could see I was bleeding from my nose and gums but did not do anything.
I was left in a room at Binyamin until the following day. The room was very small, measuring about 2 x 2 meters without any windows. There was a mattress on the floor and a light which was left on 24 hours. There was an air filter which made a lot of noise and I could not sleep.
The following day I was taken to Ofer prison, near Jerusalem, where I was strip searched and asked to stand up and crouch down while naked. I spent three days in the quarantine section at Ofer and I was interrogated on the first day.
The interrogator removed my blindfold but kept me handcuffed. These were put on me before being taken to the interrogation room He had a camera and a voice recorder in addition to a body camera attached to his shirt. He spoke fluent Arabic. He did not allow me to speak to a lawyer. The first time I saw a lawyer was in the military court. Then, without informing me of my right to silence, he told me I was a terrorist and therefore I was not entitled to any rights. Then he told me any question I refuse to answer would imply that I was guilty of the offence. He accused me of throwing stones at the checkpoint and wanted to know who had sent me.
Then he wanted to know my political affiliation and told me I was too young for political activity and wondered why I had gone to the checkpoint to throw stones. I denied the accusation and told him I did not throw stones and that I took part in a legitimate peaceful demonstration. The interrogator replied that nothing we Palestinians did was legitimate.
Then he wanted to know who else threw stones with me. I told him I did not throw stones I just carried a flag. Then he accused me of shooting at soldiers when they drive through my village at night. I denied the accusation. He threatened to never issue me with a work permit and to prevent me from traveling to Jordan. He spoke in a loud voice and shouted at me and threatened to beat me up. Then he said if I did not cooperate with him he was going to taser me until I confessed. He also said he was going to lock me up in a small cell for a long time or put me under administrative detention. He said I would then be begging him to accept my confession but he would reject it.
I repeated my claim that I took part in a peaceful demonstration. He questioned me for about four hours and refused to give me any water. He alternated with three other interrogators who took turns questioning me one at a time. I was handcuffed the whole time and was not given anything to eat or drink and I was not allowed to go to the toilet. I continued to deny the accusation.
At the end the interrogator asked me to sign a document written in Hebrew. When I asked him for a translation he said my duty was to sign it and it was not my business to ask for a translation. I signed the document without understanding it. Then they took my photo and fingerprints and a DNA sample from my mouth. Then I was taken to the quarantine section for two more days before being put in the minors’ section.
My first military court hearing was four days following my arrest. It was on zoom and my parents did not attend because they were not informed. My detention was extended. I had three military court hearings and at the last one, which was about three weeks before I was released, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to two months in prison and fined NIS 5,000. I was also given another year in prison suspended for two years. I accepted the bargain because I wanted to guarantee my release in three weeks time.
I spent the rest of my sentence at Ofer prison. I was tense and nervous the whole time and I did not know anyone there. I was released on 23 September 2021, at Ofer and I went home with my parents. I arrived home at around 10:00 p.m.
I did not have any family visits in prison because I did not want to trouble my parents, especially my mother. I did not have access to a phone so I did not call home. I attended some classes to pass the time.