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Testimony: D.E.J.S.


Name: D.E.J.S.
Age: 15
Date: 27 December 2020
Location: Beit Ummar, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones
On 27 December 2020, a 15-year-old minor from Beit Ummar was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 3:30 a.m. He reports briefly speaking to a lawyer on the phone prior to interrogation but not being informed of his right to silence.
I woke up at around 3:30 a.m. with six Israeli soldiers looking down at me. The soldiers took my father aside, spoke to him and then came back to my bedroom and told me I was under arrest. Then they showed my father a document filled out in Hebrew with details about my arrest. They made him sign it and took away.
Then the soldiers took me outside where they tied my hands behind my back with three plastic ties: one on each wrist and another connecting the two. The ties were painful. Then they blindfolded me and walked me for about 15 minutes towards the settlement of Karmi Zur. On the way soldiers kicked and slapped me. 
At the settlement the soldiers made me sit on the ground for about five minutes and then took me to the back of a military jeep and made me sit on the metal floor. The jeep took me to the police station in Etzion settlement where I was put in a room for about 15 minutes. Then I was given a quick medical examination and then I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator removed the ties and the blindfold and told me he wanted to have a chat with me. Then he phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me the interrogator was going to interrogate me and told me not to worry and to be strong. The conversation lasted for less than 2 minutes and the interrogator was in the room and he could hear me but he could not hear the lawyer. 
Then, without informing me of my right to silence, the interrogator accused me of manufacturing pipe bombs and Molotov cocktails. I denied the accusations. Then he told me soldiers had testified against me. I continued to deny the accusation. He questioned me for a about one-and-a-half hours. During this time, he left the room multiple times and came back and continued to question me. He was typing on a computer and was calm most of the time. He repeated the accusations multiple times and urged me to confess but I did not confess.
Then, without asking me to sign any documents, he took me to see another interrogator. The first interrogator gave the second one some documents. The second interrogator read them and then turned a voice recorder on and asked me the same questions as he read from the documents. This interrogator was more assertive and at the end I confessed to throwing two stones from a distance of 100 meters which missed. After I confessed the interrogator asked me to sign a document written in Hebrew and when I refused to sign he told me the voice recorder would be the reference and that what is written in the document would be identical to the recording. At that point I signed the Hebrew documents.
After the interrogation I was tied and blindfolded and taken back to the room where I was left until around 3:00 a.m. Then I was taken to the quarantine section at Megiddo prison, inside Israel. At Megiddo I was searched in my boxer shorts. 
The following day I had my first military court hearing which was conducted via video link. My parents were not informed and so they did not attend the hearing. 
I had four military court hearings and at the last one I was sentenced in a plea bargain to two-and-a-half months in prison and fined NIS 1,500. I also received a suspended sentence of three months suspended for two years. I accepted the plea bargain because my lawyer told me the alternative was to spend eight months in prison. 
I spent 11 days at the quarantine section and then I was transferred to the juvenile section at Megiddo where I spent the rest of my prison sentence. I did not have any family visits but I was allowed to call home from a monitored pay phone once every two weeks. In prison I helped in the kitchen. 
I was released on 28 February 2021 at Al Jalama checkpoint and I took a taxi home because my parents were not informed about my release. I arrived home at around midnight. 
This testimony was produced with the financial support of the German Federal Foreign Office. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Military Court Watch.