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Home » Children »

Testimony: M.S.B.T.

 

Name:  M.S.B.T.
Age:  15
Date:  15 January 2019
Location:  Beit Fajjar, West Bank
Accusation:  Weapons possession
 
On 15 January 2019, a 15-year-old minor from Beit Fajjar was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:00 a.m. He reports being interrogated several times and not being properly informed of his legal rights on both occasions.
 
Israeli soldiers broke into our home without making a sound. It was around 2:00 a.m. We were all asleep and did not immediately hear anything. Then I heard a sound which made me think someone was in our house. My father then came into my room and told me soldiers were inside our home.
 
Five soldiers spread out inside our house. My younger sister was so terrified that she fell and hurt herself. The soldiers asked to see our identity cards. Then a soldier called my name and called me to the TV room. He made me stand against the window and forced me to lift my hands up and spread my legs.
 
Then the soldier started to question me and asked me if I had any weapons. He then told me to get dressed because I was under arrest. He gave my mother a document about my arrest and asked her to sign it. The document was filled out in Hebrew.
 
I was then taken outside the house where one of my friends was waiting. The commander told me my friend had confessed against me. Then they tied my hands behind my back with one plastic tie which was tight and painful. I was also blindfolded. 
 
After I was blindfolded I was taken to the back of a military jeep and made to sit on the metal floor.  The jeep drove to the police station in Etzion settlement.
 
On arrival at the settlement I was left in an outdoor area for a short while and then taken to a room where I was left on the floor. A soldier told me to stand up and I remained standing until around 5:00 a.m. Then I was taken to a shipping container where I sat on a chair until around 9:00 a.m. Then I was taken for interrogation.
 
The interrogator removed the tie and blindfold. He was in civilian clothes and had a voice recorder on his desk. Before saying anything he asked me if I wanted to speak to a lawyer. I told him I did not want to speak to a lawyer through him but he called a lawyer and put him on speaker phone and made me speak to him. The lawyer told me not to worry and not to say anything. The interrogator was listening to the conversation which lasted less than a minute. The interrogator himself did not inform me of my right to silence.
 
Then the interrogator brought me a cup of tea and told me he wanted me to confess to weapons possession and told me my cousin had confessed against me. He showed me a pipe bomb and told me I had to confess. I denied the accusation. Then he showed me a photograph which had a circle around my face. My photo showed me standing in the village doing nothing. 
 
Then another interrogator came in and started to shout at me when I denied the accusation. The first interrogator repeated the accusation and when I denied it the second interrogator pushed my head and told me to confess. Then he swore at my religion and god and then took me outside behind the room where he blindfolded me. There he told me he was my friend, gave me a hug and promised to send me home if I confessed. He told me he was going to give me 10 minutes to think. 
 
About 10 minutes later I was taken back to the interrogation room where the blindfold was removed. The interrogator showed me some bullets and tried to make me touch them but I did not. I think he wanted my fingerprints on the bullets. The interrogation lasted for about 30 minutes. In the end I confessed to firing a cork gun which made a loud sound. Then the interrogator showed me a document in Hebrew and asked me to sign it and I did.
 
Then I was taken to a shipping container where I was blindfolded gain. I was left standing with two soldiers who did not let me sit down. I begged them to let me sit down because I was very tired but they made fun of me. When I sat on the floor, because I could no longer stand, one of the soldiers slapped me and made me stand up. I was left in the shipping container for about an hour and they did not allow me to use the toilet.  Then I was taken outside and I was left in the sun for about 10 minutes. Then I was taken to a cell where I was strip searched and I was left there until 8:00 a.m. I could not sleep. 
 
At around 8:00 a.m. I was taken to Ofer prison where I was strip searched again and sent to section 13. The following day I was taken to Ofer military court and the hearing was adjourned. My parents were not informed about the hearing and they did not attend.
 
Two days before I was released I was taken to the police station in Kiryat Arba settlement for another interrogation. The interrogator did not inform me of my rights and had a voice recorder on his desk. He wanted me to repeat my confession and had a document ready for me to sign. I denied I had confessed. Then the interrogator phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me not to confess. This lasted for about 10 minutes and then I was taken to a small cell measuring not more than 1 x 1 meters. I started to bang at the door asking to use a toilet. About 10 minutes later I was taken out and then I was taken back to Ofer prison.
 
I had four military court hearings which my parents did not attend. At the last hearing I was not taken into the court room and a guard told me I was going to be released. I did not believe him and asked him again. Then I was taken back to prison but later that day I was released. It was around 11:00 p.m.
 
My parents were waiting for me at Al Jib checkpoint and I arrived home at around 1:00 a.m. I was released on 22 January 2019 without charge. My parents were ecstatic. I had dinner and I went to bed. My father does not allow me to speak to my friend who confessed against me anymore; he told me never to speak to him again.