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Testimony: O.M.A.R.


Name: O.M.A.R.
Age: 15
Date: 13 January 2019
Location: Tuqu', West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones

On 13 January 2019, a 15-year-old minor from Tuqu’ was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 4:00 a.m. His parents were told he was wanted for “a chat”. He reports being interrogated without first being informed of his legal rights.

I could not sleep because I knew Israeli soldiers were in our village. It was around 4:00 a.m. Then there was a knock at our front door and my father answered. A group of about 20 soldiers entered our home and told my father they wanted to take me for “a chat for a couple of hours” and would then bring me home. They did not give my father any documents. They remained inside our home for about 30 minutes but did not conduct a search.
After about 30 minutes I was taken outside where they tied my hands to the front with two plastic ties which were not painful. They also blindfolded me. I was then led towards the village municipality building where a military jeep was waiting. I was put in the back of the jeep and made me sit on the metal floor. Inside the jeep the soldiers aimed their guns at me but did not do anything. I could see a bit from under the blindfold.
The jeep drove to a nearby military base and I was taken to a shipping container where I was examined by a doctor. Then I was taken back to the jeep and put on the metal floor again. The jeep then drove around until around 2:00 p.m. I was tired and hungry. Eventually I was taken for interrogation at the police station in Etzion settlement.
The interrogator was wearing civilian clothes and had a camera and a voice recorder in the room. He removed the blindfold but kept my ties on. Without informing me of my rights he accused me of throwing stones at soldiers on Friday. When I denied the accusation he became very angry and repeated the accusation again and told me I had to confess. Then he showed me photographs but I continued to deny the accusation.
Half-way through the interrogation he phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me not to confess and said maybe he could get me released. The lawyer did not inform me of my right to silence. The interrogation lasted for about 30 minutes and I was not shown any documents or asked to sign anything. 
Then I was taken to a cell in Etzion police station where I was strip searched. About 10 minutes later I was taken to Ofer prison where I was strip searched again before being taken to section 13. 
The following day I had a military court hearing. My parents were not told about the hearing and they did not attend. I was denied release on bail and was taken back to prison. 
In all I had four military court hearings. At the last hearing I accepted a plea bargain and was sentenced to 28 days in prison, which was time already served. My family also had to pay a fine of NIS 2,000. I also received a suspended sentence but I don’t know the details. I accepted the plea bargain because I would be released on the same day. 
I was released on 11 February 2019  and I arrived home with my parents at around 9:00 p.m.
My parents did not visit me in prison because they were issued a permit to visit on the same day as I was released. 
I dropped out of school about a year ago because of my first imprisonment. Being in prison interrupted my school and I could not catch up. Our house is very close to a fence soldiers use to enter our village at night. I keep my eyes on the fence at night and I find it hard to sleep because soldiers could come at any time.