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Home » Children »

Testimony: Q.H.M.H.

 

Name: Q.H.M.H.
Age: 16
Date: 14 Februrary 2019
Location: Al Jalazun, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones

On 14 February 2019, a 16-year-old minor from Al Jalazun refugee camp was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 3:30 a.m. He reports being interrogated multiple times and held in solitary confinement for 24 hours. 

Two days before I was arrested the Palestinian preventative security forces summoned me to their offices in Ramallah. I went and the officer made me sign a document saying I promise not to harm the state of Israel and that I regret having done so in the past and that it was wrong to be engaged in such acts. 
 
Two days later, on 14 February 2019, Israeli soldiers raided our home at 3:30 a.m. I got up and went to the living room. My father opened the door and abut 15-20 soldiers entered our house. 
 
A soldier asked my father for me by name and then told him I was under arrest. They gave my father a document written in both Hebrew and Arabic and made him sign it but did not give him a copy. When my father asked why I was being arrested the commander refused to tell him.
 
The soldiers immediately took me outside where they tied my hands to the front with one plastic tie. The tie was very tight and painful and left marks on my wrists for two days. Then they led me to the main entrance of the refugee camp where they blindfolded me. 
 
After I was blindfolded I was led to the nearby settlement of Beit El where I was examined by a doctor. The doctor pulled down the blindfold and removed the tie and then put them on again as before. Then I was taken to a shipping container where I was left with another detainee for about two hours. 
 
After about two hours I was taken to the back of a military jeep where I sat on the metal floor. The jeep then drove to the police station in Binyamin settlement where I was interrogated. I was without food or drink the whole time and when I asked to use the toilet a soldier told me he would accompany me so I refused. I entered the interrogation room at around 8:00 a.m.
 
The interrogator removed the blindfold and the tie and shackled me. Before he started to question me he gave me a document written in both Hebrew and Arabic informing me of my right to consult with a lawyer and my right to silence. Then he phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me to remain silent and not to talk about anything I knew nothing about or anything I was not involved in. Then he told me to take care of myself. 
 
Then the interrogator told me his name was Yossi and then asked me whether I threw stones at soldiers. He gave me a date back in 2017 and accused me of throwing stones on that date. I denied the accusation. I decided not to remain silent because I thought the interrogator would go mad if I did. 
 
The interrogator named some boys from Al-Jalazun and showed me their interrogation files and told me the boys had confessed against me. When I denied the accusation again he started to shout at me telling me I had to confess. He questioned me for about three hours and kept urging me to confess. Most of the time he was aggressive in order for me to confess but I did not. I was not given any documents to sign at the end of the interrogation.
 
After the interrogation I was taken to Ofer military court. My father was not there because he had not been informed about the hearing. The interrogator was there and my lawyer. The interrogator told the military court he needed more time in order to interrogate me more. The military judge decided to extend my detention by eight days to allow for more interrogation.
 
After the hearing I was taken to Ofer prison where I was strip searched and told to crouch up and down while naked. Then I was taken to section 13 where I had a meal for the first time since my arrest. 
 
Three days later I was taken for another interrogation at Binyamin police station. The interrogator showed me a document about my rights but did not allow me to speak to a lawyer. He questioned me for about 30 minutes about the same incident and accused me of throwing stones. I denied the accusation. After the interrogation I was taken back to prison. 
 
I was interrogated about 15 times over many days. I was given the document about my rights at the beginning of each interrogation but I did not speak to a lawyer. I was not given any documents to sign at the end of the interrogations. 
 
After one of the interrogations I was taken to a very small room, about 1 X 1 meter, where I was left for hours together with another detainee. There were no windows in the room and the light was on 24 hours. There was not enough room for me to stretch my legs and there was nothing in the room not even a mattress. The other boy went crazy and both of us kept banging at the door asking that they move us somewhere else. After repeated begging the other detainee was taken to another cell and I was left alone. This was the hardest thing during my entire arrest and imprisonment. I was scared and almost went crazy. They brought me frozen food which I did not eat. When I asked to go to the toilet a soldier insisted on going in with me. This time I accepted because I was desperate. I thought they would hurt me and no one would ever find out. I was left in that room for 24 hours; from 5:00 a.m. until 5:00 a.m. the next day. Had I been left there one more hour I would have gone mad.
 
During these repeated interrogations my detention was extended for four days, then another four days and six days. I also had many military court hearings. The last hearing was on the same day that I was released. During that hearing I was sentenced in a plea bargain to 13 months in prison and fined NIS 1,000. I was also given a suspended sentence of one year valid for five years. 
 
The evidence against me was based on the confessions of the other boys who claimed I was with them. My relationship with these boys has been affected; we no longer hang out together and our families hardly speak to each other. I accepted the plea bargain because it meant I would go home that day. 
 
I spent the whole time at Ofer prison and my father visited me regularly. I was released on 19 February 2020 and I went home with my father. We arrived home early evening. I dropped out of school before I was arrested and I would like to find a job but it is very hard; all the businesses are closed because of the Corona Virus restrictions.