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Testimony: I.M.H.Q.


Name: I.M.H.Q.
Age: 15
Date: 23 March 2017
Location: Beit Fajjar, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones
On 23 March 2017, a 15-year-old youth from Beit Fajjar is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:30 a.m. He reports being interrogated without first being informed of his right to silence or his right to consult with a lawyer.
My sister woke me up at around 2:30 a.m. and told me Israeli soldiers were in our neighbourhood. By the time I got up the soldiers were banging on our front door. They used their guns to bang and caused dents in the metal door. 
My father opened the door about 10 soldiers entered our home. Many more soldiers were outside surrounding our house. A female soldier had a camera and was filming. The commander had photographs of clashes with him. He told my father to gather all his children in the living room. As soon as he saw me he pointed at me and said he wanted to arrest me. 
The soldiers searched our house and took a pair of my trousers from my bedroom. They told me to put my clothes on and to say goodbye to my family. They did not give my parents any documents.
Outside the house they tied my hands to the front with two plastic ties on top of each other. The ties were painful and got tighter and tighter as I moved my wrists. They also blindfolded me.
I was then taken to the back of a jeep where I sat on the metal floor between the soldiers’ boots. I could see the female soldier from under the blindfold continued to film inside the jeep. She also punched me on the head. The jeep drove to the police station in Etzion settlement. 
At Etzion I was taken to a shipping container where I sat on a metal chair until around 7:30 a.m. I was without food or drink and I could not sleep. There were lots of soldiers around swearing and shouting. They called me a “son of a whore”. At around 7:30 a.m. I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator wore civilian clothes. He kept me blindfolded for about one hour before he removed it and told me he could recognise me from a previous arrest. He did not inform me of my rights and asked me whether I wanted to be straight forward with him unlike the previous arrest. Then he asked me why I throw stones at soldiers and how come I did not learn my lesson from the previous arrest. 
Then he showed me photos and wanted me to give him the names of the boys in the photos. He banged the table to scare me and swore at one of the young men from my village that was killed by soldiers. Then he told me I had to hand over the weapon in my possession. He mentioned all the young men in my neighbourhood and repeated his questions over and over again. He wanted me to get tired and to confess. 
The interrogation lasted for about four hours. In the end I confessed because I was sick and tired of him and wanted the interrogation to end. I confessed to throwing a stone which hit a military jeep.
After I confessed the interrogator called my father and told him where I was. I asked to speak to a lawyer and he called one and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me not to confess but I told him I already had. Then the interrogator showed me a document in Hebrew and asked me to sign it but I refused to sign. 
After the interrogation I was strip searched and taken to a cell where I spent about seven hours and I slept. Then I was taken to Ofer prison where I was searched in my underwear and then taken to Section 13.
The following day I was taken to ofer military court. My parents were not there because they were not informed and the hearing was adjourned. In all I had about 15 military court hearings. 
In the end I was sentenced in a plea bargain to six months in prison and fined 2,000 shekels. I also had to serve an additional five months in prison for an outstanding suspended sentence. In total I was sentenced to 11 months in prison and given an additional suspended sentence of 18 months valid for five years. I was sentenced just two months before I was released. 
I accepted the plea bargain because my sentence would have been stiffer had I rejected it. In fact the court made me serve just five out of the 10 months suspended from my previous arrest as part of the plea bargain. 
I spent three out of the 11 months of my sentence in Megiddo prison inside Israel. The rest of the time I spent at Ofer. In prison I cooked for the other detainees and exercised. I found it hard the second time around and could not wait to be released. My parents visited me in prison regularly.