|Date:||7 August 2021|
|Location:||Beit Fajjar, West Bank|
|Accusation:||Setting a fire|
On 7 August 2021, a 14-year-old minor from Beit Fajjar was arrested by Israeli soldiers near a settlement. He reports being interrogated several times without being informed of all of his legal rights prior to each interrogation.
I went for a walk with a friend at around 10:00 p.m. to check the area where young boys from my village had earlier clashed with Israeli soldiers. On the way we were ambushed by a group of soldiers. One of the soldiers punched me on the head and then kicked me in my side. The other soldiers swore at me and called me "a son of a whore".
Then the commander came and asked me for my name. He wanted to know what I was up to at that late hour. He then tied my hands to the front with three plastic ties: one on each wrist and another connecting the two. The ties were tight. I was also blindfolded. At around 11:00 p.m. I was taken in a military jeep where I sat on the metal floor and driven to the police station in Etzion settlement. At Etzion I was left in a shipping container until dawn and then I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator was wearing civilian clothes. He removed the blindfold but kept me tied. Then he phoned a lawyer for me and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me not to confess until he figured out what the situation was. Then the interrogator asked me what I was planning to do. He did not inform me of my right to silence.
He was calm most of the time but occasionally raised his voice at me. He urged me to confess and said if I did they would go easy on the sentencing. He questioned me for about an hour and accused me of starting a fire near the settlement. I denied the allegation. At the end he asked me to sign documents written in Hebrew. I signed without understanding what I had signed on.
Then I was searched in my boxer shorts before being taken into a cell where I was left until around 10:00 a.m. Then I was taken to Ofer prison where I was strip searched before being taken to section 18 where I was quarantined with six other boys. Nine days later I was taken for another interrogation.
This time I did not speak to a lawyer and the interrogator did not form me of my right to silence. The interrogator was in police uniform and repeated the same questions and wanted to know who sent me to start a fire. The interrogator was calm.
The interrogation lasted for about 30 minutes. At the end he asked me to sign documents written in Hebrew. I signed without understanding what they said. Three days later I had my first military court hearing on zoom. The hearing was adjourned because there was no lawyer to represent me. A week later I had another hearing which my uncle attended on zoom.
I had about 10 military court hearings. The last hearing, which was on 7 November 2021, was one day before I was released. I was sentenced in a plea bargain to three months in prison and fined NIS 1,000. I also received a suspended sentence of 18 months suspended for one year. I accepted the plea bargain because I wanted to go home the following day.
I spent 11 days in quarantine and then I was transferred to section 13 at Ofer. I did not have any family visits because I was released before the visiting permit was issued. In prison I watched television, chatted to the other prisoners and lifted weights to keep fit. I loved watching documentaries on wild animals.
I was released at Ofer on 8 November 2021 and I arrived home at around 7:30 p.m.