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Testimony: S.M.S.M.


Name: S.M.S.M.
Age: 15
Date: 9 January 2019
Location: Tuqu', West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones

On 9 January 2019, a 15-year-old minor from Tuqu’ was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 1:30 a.m. He reports speaking to a lawyer prior to interrogation for two minutes on the phone with the interrogator listening.

I woke up after hearing some noise around the house. It was around 1:30 a.m. It was a cold rainy night and my parents and siblings were all asleep. Then I heard loud banging at our front door and I immediately woke up my mother and father. 
My father went to open the door and about 15 Israeli soldiers entered our home. Four of the soldiers were wearing face masks. The soldiers ordered all of us into my parents’ bedroom and asked my father for our names. Then they identified me and asked to see my identity card. They then said I was under arrest. 
My mother asked why I was being arrested and the commander told her they wanted to take me for two days for questioning and would then bring me back. When I told the commander I had not done anything wrong he told me they would not have come to our home in the middle of the night if there wasn’t a good reason.
The commander then tried to re-assure my parents and told my father not to worry and that he was going to take me in the same vehicle he was in. Then he gave my parents a document written in Hebrew and asked my mother to sign it and she did. He circled Etzion police station on the document indicating they were going to take me there.
Then the commander turned his mobile phone on and showed me an image of a boy standing on the side of the street. He told me to bring the clothes the boy was wearing in the photo. Then the soldiers searched my bedroom and looked under my bed and a female soldier found the trousers they were looking for. Then the commander showed my mother the image and my mother told him it was not me. They remained inside the house for about 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes the soldiers took me outside where I was blindfolded and handcuffed to the back with metal handcuffs. The handcuffs were not painful. They walked me towards a nearby military watch ower and then put me in a military jeep and made me sit on the metal floor. 
The jeep took me to a nearby military base where I was examined by a doctor. The doctor removed the blindfold during the examination. I was left at the military base overnight and I was able to sleep.
At around 8:30 a.m. I was taken to the police station in Etzion settlement. I waited outside in the cold while handcuffed and blindfolded for about an hour. At around 10:00 a.m. I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator sat me down on a chair and removed the blindfold. He kept me handcuffed during the interrogation. He had a camera and a voice recorder in the room but I do not know whether he had them on or not. He asked me for my name and whether I wanted to speak to a lawyer. When I told him I did he phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me not to confess and if I am given documents to sign I should call him first. The conversation lasted for about two minutes and the interrogator was listening.
Then the interrogator told me he was not going to force me to speak and it was up to me whether I spoke or not. Then he showed me a photograph and claimed it was a photograph of me but I denied it. Then he lost his temper and started to speak in a loud voice and accused me of lying. Then he showed me video footage of me which was about 2 years old. When he did I felt I had no choice but to confess and I confessed to throwing 2 stones which missed.
Then he showed me documents written in Hebrew and wanted me to sign them but I refused to sign and told him I wanted to speak to my lawyer. He called the lawyer and the lawyer told me it was ok to sign so I signed. Then the interrogator blindfolded me again and I was taken to a cell where I was strip searched. I was left there overnight and I was able to sleep.
The following morning, at around 7:00 a.m., I was brought some food. After I ate I was taken to Ofer prison where I was strip searched before being taken to section 13. 
The following day I was taken to Ofer military court. My parents were not there and the hearing was adjourned. 
I had about eight military court hearings. At the last hearing I was sentenced in a plea bargain to eight months in prison fined NIS 2,000. I was also given a suspended sentence of six months suspended for three years. Nobody asked me whether I accepted the plea bargain. All I knew was that the lawyer told me I had been sentenced. My mother objected to the high sentence but nobody took what she said into account. 
After court I was taken to Ofer but four days later I was transferred to Damoun prison inside Israel. While at Ofer my parents visited me four times. I was granted early release and was released on 3 June 2019. My parents were waiting at another checkpoint when I was released at Al Jalama. I took a taxi to where they were waiting and my father paid the taxi driver. We arrived home around midnight and by the time I had dinner and chatted with everyone it was around 4:00 a.m. I was very tired and went to sleep.