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Testimony: A.K.A.B.


Name:  A.K.A.B.
Age:  16
Date:  9 March 2020
Location:  Al' Arrub, West Bank
Accusation:  Throwing stones / Molotovs

On 9 March 2020, a 16-year-old minor from Al’ Arrub refugee camp was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:00 a.m. He reports not being informed of his right to silence but consulting with a lawyer prior to his first interrogation. 

I woke up at 2:00 a.m. to the sound of loud banging at the front door of my uncle’s apartment. My uncle lives in the same building as my family. My uncle later told me that six Israeli soldiers entered his home looking for me. They told my uncle that they would destroy his house if he did not turn me in. My uncle then came to our apartment and told me that soldiers had come to arrest me. I quickly got dressed and went downstairs.
As soon as I went downstairs a soldier tied my hands behind my back with two plastic ties on top of each other. He tightened them hard and they caused me a lot of pain. Then he blindfolded me and put a mask over my mouth and nose and told me to stand by the door. He asked me for my identity card and I was rude to him and he punched me in the chest. I fell to the ground. The commander then told me he was going to beat me hard once we arrived at the police station in Etzion settlement if I did not confess and give him names of other boys.
My uncle was given a document filled out in Hebrew with details about my arrest. The commander asked my uncle to sign it and then the commander took it away. Then they led me a short distance to make another arrest before taking me to the military watchtower at the entrance to the camp. On the way soldiers slapped and beat me. They made me wait by the watchtower for about an hour. During this time the commander threatened again to beat me at the police station. The soldiers also swore at me.
After about an hour I was taken in a vehicle to Etzion police station where I was searched with my clothes on. I was left outside by a shipping container for about 30 minutes and then I was taken to a room. I was left in the room for about an hour and I could not sleep because I was worried about what they might do to me. At around 6:00 a.m. I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator removed the blindfold. He wore a police uniform and spoke broken Arabic. He phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. I was very suspicious of the alleged lawyer. He did not speak good Arabic. The lawyer told me I was going to go home soon and there was nothing for me to worry about. The interrogator was listening to the conversation on the speaker phone. When I tried to turn the speaker phone off the interrogator punched me in the chest. The conversation lasted for about 30 seconds. 
Then the interrogator told me I had to behave in accordance with the interrogation rules and that I had to speak but speak softly and politely. He told me I had to answer all his questions no matter what and that I had to speak the truth. He also told I should speak only in response to his questions and nothing else. He did not inform me of my right to silence.
Then he told me he was going to revoke my father’s work permit. He told me the family will no longer have a work permit and there will be no food to eat. Then he accused me of throwing stones and of being a gang leader.  He accused me of forming groups of young boys who throw stones at soldiers and settler buses on the Route 60. I denied the accusations. Then he gave me a specific date and time and accused me of throwing stones on that date together with the other person they arrested with me. I denied the accusation.
The interrogator did not have any concrete evidence against me but I suspect he had information from an informant. There are lots of informants in our refugee camp. Out of 10 people in the camp perhaps six or seven are informants. I suspect they tempt them with cash, no matter how small the amount is but unemployment is very high and any amount of money is badly needed.
I was questioned for about an hour. The interrogator did not show me any documents and did not ask me to sign anything. I was re-blindfolded and taken outside where I waited for about five minutes before being taken for another interrogation which was harsher.
This interrogator did not inform me of my rights. He pulled down the shutters and turned the light off and then removed the blindfold and asked me about two other boys. I told him I knew nothing about them and that he had made a mistake. Then he told me if I confessed to throwing a Molotov cocktail he would send me home.  I told him I was not going to confess to something I did not do. He then blindfolded me again and pulled my head backwards and slapped me on my eyes and shouted at me saying “confess…confess…” This interrogation went on from around 7:30 a.m. until around noon. I was sleep deprived and tired. I asked to use the toilet but the interrogator refused. Despite all this I did not confess to anything. 
Then the interrogator threatened to send me to Ofer prison. I told him that was fine because I was going to complain to the judge about how he treated me and that I was going to raise a case against him. He told me I was crazy to think along these lines. He did not ask me to sign any documents. Then he called the first interrogator and asked him to take me out. I waited outside for about 30 minutes.
After about 30 minutes the second interrogator gave me back my identity card and told me I would not be free for long and threatened to bring me back and lock me up in prison until I rot. Then he told me I could go home.
I was dropped off at the entrance gate to Etzion settlement at around 1:30 p.m. on 10 March 2020. I phoned my father who came and picked me up. I was released without charge and I went home with my father. 
This testimony was produced with the financial support of the German Federal Foreign Office. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Military Court Watch.