||15 July 2019
||Kafr Ein, West Bank
On 15 July 2019, the family home of a 16-year-old minor from Kafr Ein was raided by Israeli soldiers at 3:00 a.m. and told to bring him for interrogation later that day. He reports being given a document about his rights but not speaking to a lawyer prior to interrogation.
We had a party at our house late at night for my brother who was getting married. At around 3:00 a.m. about 70 Israeli soldiers suddenly surrounded our house. Some of us were asleep, others still awake. I was not at home when they came.
The commander asked my mother for me and told her I would be arrested. When my mother told him I was not home the commander arrested my brother, whose wedding we were celebrating, and told her he was going to detain him until I turned myself in at Ofer interrogation centre. He gave her a document written in Hebrew which she could not read.
At around 11:00 a.m. I went with my father to Ofer as requested. We waited outside the intelligence officer’s office. Then a soldier approached us and told me to take off my shirt and trousers. Then he told my father to wait at the gate where my brother would be released. Then he took me inside after allowing me to put my clothes back on.
I was taken to an office where I waited from around 11:30 a.m. until around 4:00 p.m. I was not given any food or drink and I was not allowed to use a toilet. At around 4:00 p.m. I was shackled and handcuffed to the front with metal handcuffs, which were not painful, and taken in a vehicle to Ashkelon police station in Israel for interrogation.
I arrived at Ashkelon at around 7:00 p.m. I was strip searched and then blindfolded. Then I was taken to a cell where I waited for about an hour before being taken for interrogation. The cell did not have any windows but there was a light. I was tired and sleepy and I slept on a mattress on the floor.
The interrogator removed the blindfold and asked me how I was. He was in civilian clothes. He gave me a document in Arabic about my rights but he did not call a lawyer for me. Then he accused me of shooting and told me one of my friends had confessed against me. He showed me my friend’s testimony in Arabic which had his signature on it. I denied the accusation. The interrogator was calm most of the time and he questioned me for about an hour. At one point he told me they had brought my mother and brother to the interrogation centre and told me to confess if I wanted them released. This turned out not to be true; he just wanted to put pressure on me to confess.
The interrogator showed me photographs and wanted me to give him names of people I am in contact with but I did not. He lost his temper once and wanted me to confess. In the end I confessed to having had a conversation with the person he claimed had confessed against me. Then he showed me my statement in Arabic and asked me to sign it and I did because it was identical to what I had said.
After the interrogation I was taken to court where I saw a lawyer for the first time since my arrest. The judge extended my detention for further interrogation. Then I was taken to Ofer prison where I was strip searched before being taken to section 13. I arrived there at around noon.
Three days later I was taken to Ofer military court. My parents were not informed and that was why they did not attend the hearing. My lawyer was there and the hearing was adjourned. I had about 15 military court hearings.
At the last hearing, which was about six weeks before I was released, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to 10 months in prison, fined NIS 1,000 and given a suspended sentence of 12 months valid for five years. I accepted the plea bargain because I was expecting a longer sentence and my lawyer told me there was no other option for me but to plead guilty.
On 13 January 2020, I was transferred from Ofer to Damoun prison inside Israel. The conditions there were terrible; cockroaches crawling everywhere and the food was lousy. I was locked up in a cell by myself twice as punishment because I took part in protests inside prison. The first time I spent 12 days in a cell by myself. It was very hard and I thought of my family the whole time. Towards the end they brought two other prisoners into my cell. The second time I spent nine days by myself in a cell measuring 2 x 1 meters. There was a toilet and a sink but there were no windows. The light was on 24 hours. It was hard to sleep with the light on. I asked the soldiers to turn it off at night and sometimes they did.
I was released on 14 May 2020, at Salem checkpoint. My parents were waiting for me at Al Jalama checkpoint because that was where they were told to wait. I was able to contact them and they came to Salem and took me home. We arrived home at around 7:00 p.m. My mother had prepared a nice rice and chicken meal which I really enjoyed.
In prison I used to help in the kitchen and I also lifted weights and exercised to keep fit. My family visited me four times but only six months after my arrest because it took a long time for the permit to be issued.
During the last two months the prison management installed pay phones for us and I was able to call my family three times a week for about 15 minutes each time. This was because of the Corona Virus regulations when family visits were suspended.