Testimony - M.A.
|Date of incident:||6 June 2013|
|Location:||Beit Ummar, West Bank|
On 6 June 2013, a 15-year-old boy from Beit Ummar, in the West Bank, is arrested by Israeli soldiers whilst helping his family plow their agricultural land.
“I was helping my family plough our land when at around 6:00 p.m. I saw Israeli soldiers in the area, so I went to see what was going on. Clashes were taking place between people from our village and the soldiers. Suddenly three soldiers started running towards me. I was scared of them so I ran away. They kept running after me until I fell on the ground and they caught me. They beat me on my leg and kicked me in the stomach. I was in severe pain. The soldiers then blindfolded me and dragged me to a nearby military vehicle and pushed me inside. Once inside the vehicle my hands were tied in front of me with three plastic ties. The ties were not too tight.”
M.A. was taken to the nearby Israeli settlement of Etzion and made to wait outside an office until 9:00 p.m. During this time his blindfold was removed but his hands remained tied. At around 9:00 p.m. M.A. was led into the office and interrogated. “The interrogator was bald and a bit old. I was alone with him in the room. He had a tape recorder on his desk. He told me his name but I forget what it was. He did not tell me that I had any rights and I didn’t see a lawyer before he started interrogating me. He mentioned some children by name and asked me whether I knew them. I told him I didn’t. He got upset and told me I was too scared to say I knew them. Then he told me that three soldiers saw me throw stones. This is not true at all, this is a lie, I didn’t throw stones so I denied the accusation. He got very upset, held my face with his hand and slapped me. I was a bit scared. He also told me he was going to raid my parents’ home at night. At this point I confessed to throwing one stone. He didn’t accept this and told me I threw more than 20 stones. I denied this. I told him I threw a stone at the fence of a nearby settlement and that the stone didn’t hit the target. The interrogator wrote something down.”
“The interrogator asked me to sign a document written in Hebrew. I refused to sign because I don’t understand Hebrew. I told him I wouldn’t sign until my lawyer had read the document. He told me not to worry as the document only said what I had told him – so I signed. I was then taken to a prison cell where I was held alone. I wasn’t given any food or drink and I fell asleep. I think it was around 2:00 a.m.”
“Later that morning I was handcuffed and my legs were shackled and I was put in a military vehicle and taken to Ofer prison, near Ramallah. We arrived at Ofer at around 1:00 p.m. I was taken to see a doctor who examined me and then I was taken for a security check. Then I was taken inside the prison where I was held with other children my age. I took a shower and went outside with the other prisoners who were having a break.”
“On Sunday, three days after I was arrested, I was taken to Ofer military court. In court I saw my lawyer for the first time. She read my confession to me and I told her that wasn’t what I had told the interrogator. She told the judge and he adjourned the case. My parents did not attend the first court session; I told them not to come. At the second court hearing I told the judge I was pressured to give a confession. The judge adjourned the case again. On the third session my lawyer was able to get me out on bail. It was Wednesday, 12 June. My father had to pay NIS 3,500 (about $1,000) before I could be released. I spent six nights in prison. My next court hearing is on 21 August 2013. I don’t know what will happen to me.”