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Home » Children »

Testimony: E.M.A.

 Name: E.M.A.
 Age: 16 years
 Date of incident: 20 October 2014
 Location: Beit Ummar, West Bank
 Accusation: Throwing stones
      
On 20 October 2014, a 16-year-old boy from Beit Ummar, in the West Bank, is arrested by Israeli soldiers as he works with his father in fields adjacent to the settlement of Karmi Zur.
 
“I was with my father as he worked on land close to the settlement of Karmi Zur. It was around 3.00 p.m. Suddenly, a group of Israeli soldiers with a dog came out of the settlement and started to chase me. I managed to run a few metres before the dog started to bite me on the hand, leg and back. I was bleeding heavily. The soldiers took me back to the settlement and made me sit on the ground as they called an ambulance.”
 
“When the ambulance arrived soldiers accompanied me to Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem. I was taken to the emergency room and given first aid. At around 10.00 p.m. my parents arrived at the hospital and were allowed to see me. My father brought me a medical gown to put on because the dog had ripped my clothes. My parents then left. I remained at the hospital until around 11.00 p.m. when the soldiers put me in a military jeep. They tied my hands to the front with one plastic tie. The tie was painful especially because of the dog bites and the bandage. We then drove for about an hour back to the settlement of Karmi Zur. I was taken to a room with a couch and I was blindfolded. I was then left there until around 8.00 a.m. I wasn’t allowed to drink or to use the bathroom.”
 
“At around 8.00 a.m. a soldier took me to a jeep and I was driven to the police station in the settlement of Etzion. I was still tied and blindfolded. I was immediately taken to an interrogation room. An interrogator in civilian clothes was in the room. Before the interrogation started he told me I had the right to silence and the right to see a lawyer. He asked me for my father’s telephone number and called him and told him I was at Etzion police station. The interrogator told my father to come immediately to the police station if he wanted to attend my interrogation. However, as soon as he finished talking to my father on the phone the interrogator started to question me. I also didn’t have the chance to speak to a lawyer.”
 
“The interrogator removed my hand tie and blindfold and accused me of throwing stones at soldiers and at the settlement. I denied the accusation. At around 9.00 a.m. my father arrived. The interrogator allowed him into the room and told him to remain silent. When my father arrived the interrogator turned on a video, which showed a boy standing in the field near the settlement. The features of the boy in the video were not clear. The interrogator claimed the boy was me. I told him I wasn’t in that particular area near the settlement. The video did not show the boy throwing stones or anything of that sort. It just showed the image of a boy standing near the settlement. The interrogator claimed soldiers saw me throwing stones. I asked to confront the soldiers but he said that wasn’t going to happen. I continued to deny the accusation. The interrogator then printed out a document in Hebrew and asked me to sign it. The interrogator told me the document matched exactly what I had told him, so I signed it. The interrogation lasted a few hours. When the interrogation was over my father went home.The interrogator then photographed and fingerprinted me. He allowed me to use the bathroom but did not give me any food to eat. I was then taken to a prison cell at Etzion where I remained for about two hours.”
 
“At around 5.00 p.m. I was handcuffed and put in a troop carrier. We drove for about an hour before arriving at Ofer prison, near Ramallah. On arrival at Ofer I was strip searched before being taken to Section 13 where there were prisoners my age. Two days later I was taken to Ofer military court. My parents were there and I was allowed to speak to them. A lawyer was there too. The lawyer requested my release because of the lack of evidence. The military judge agreed on the condition that no additional evidence was presented against me.”
 
“At 8.00 a.m. on the seventh day following my arrest I was handcuffed and put in a troop carrier and taken for a second interrogation inside the settlement of Kiryat Arba. The interrogator wore a police uniform. He removed the handcuffs and immediately started to interrogate me. He did not inform me of my right to silence or of my right to see a lawyer. He claimed there were confessions that I had taken part in throwing stones at soldiers back in July 2014 and that one of the stones hit a soldier. I initially denied the accusation. The interrogation lasted for about an hour. In the end I confessed to taking part in a demonstration but I denied having thrown stones. I was taken back to Ofer prison the same day.”
 
“A few days later I was taken to the military court again. The hearing was adjourned to allow the interrogation to continue or for my lawyer to come up with an agreement on a plea bargain. Three or four days after the second hearing, I was taken for another interrogation at Kiryat Arba. The interrogator wore a police uniform and did not inform me of my right to silence or of my right to see a lawyer. Again, this interrogator interrogated me about incidents that took place in the past. He accused me of taking part in a number of demonstrations. I confessed to having taken part in demonstrations but denied having thrown stones.The interrogator then went back to accusing me of throwing stones on the day of my arrest. I denied this accusation. He then accused me of throwing stones on 7 July 2014 and of hitting a soldier with a stone. I denied this accusation too. The interrogator then printed out a document in Hebrew and told me it was identical to what I had told him. He asked me to sign it and I did. I was then taken back to Ofer prison.”
 
“A few days later I had another military court hearing where a new charge sheet was submitted. This one included charges of throwing stones on multiple occasions and of hitting a soldier with a stone. The hearing was adjourned. I think I had about 10 military court hearings. My lawyer was able to cancel the charge of throwing stones and hitting a soldier with a stone for lack of evidence and because the testimonies of the soldiers contradicted each other. The military court then agreed to release me on bail. My family had to pay 3,000 shekels in bail and had to come up with a guarantor who holds an Israeli identity card to guarantee that I show up in court after my release.”
 
“I was released from Ofer prions on 6 December 2014 and I went home with my parents.”