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Testimony - A.A.M.


Name: A.A.M.
Age: 17 years
Date of incident: 12 November 2013
Location: Deir Nidham, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones
On 12 November 2013, a 17-year-old boy from Deir Nidham, in the West Bank, is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:00 a.m. and accused of throwing stones.
“I woke up to the sound of loud banging at our door. It was around 2:00 a.m. I heard someone say 'open the door’. My father opened the door and about 13 Israeli soldiers entered the house; some wore masks, others had charcoal camouflage on their face. I was still in the bedroom when I heard one of the soldiers ask for everybody's identity card. I brought my identity card and waited in the room then my mother came and told me the soldiers wanted to see me. I was terrified. One of the soldiers asked me for my name and told me to get dressed quickly. Before I could put my shoes on the soldier dragged me outside. My mother started to cry. They did not show us any written documents and did not tell us why they were taking me or where. They just had a piece of paper with a list of names on it.”
“At the front gate they tied my hands to the back with one plastic tie and blindfolded me. The hand tie was very tight. They made me walk for about 30 minutes to the nearby settlement of Halamish where they made me sit in a room and one soldier asked me if I wanted any water. I told him I was fine. About 10 minutes later I was put in a troop carrier together with other young men. Inside the vehicle a soldier swore at me and said bad words about my mother and my sister. I am too embarrassed to repeat what he said. They took us somewhere for a medical examination where they removed the blindfold but kept my hands tied. After the examination the doctor replaced the blindfold and I was taken to Binyamin settlement. We arrived at Binyamin at around 7:00 a.m.”
“Shortly after arriving at Binyamin I was taken to an open area which I think was a car wash. Every now and then I was sprayed with cold water and slapped on the face to keep me awake. Then a soldier came and introduced himself as 'Captain Binyamin’ and told me he was going to take me for interrogation and that I had to tell him everything. He walked me to the interrogation room where he removed the blindfold but kept the hand tie."
"The interrogator asked me if I wanted to be treated like a human or like a donkey. I think he meant to tell me that treating me like a donkey meant that he would beat me. I told him I wanted to be treated like a human being. He didn’t say anything about my rights. I was in the interrogation room alone with the interrogator and I sat on a chair. I didn’t see a camera or a tape recorder. He asked me if I threw stones and I told him I didn’t. He said my answer meant that I wanted to be treated like a donkey. He made me stand up and a soldier came and took me to another room and started to beat me. The soldier asked me if I threw stones. When I told him I didn’t he slapped me on the face and hit me on my back. I felt he was careful not to leave any marks on my body. This went on for about 10 minutes. He went out for a short while and came back and asked me the same question again but I insisted that I didn’t throw stones. The soldier then took me back to the other interrogator."
"At this point I had had enough and told the interrogator to write whatever he felt like writing. I didn’t want to be beaten anymore. He told me he was going to write down that I threw stones with other boys. Then he showed me a document written in Hebrew and asked me to sign it. I told him I wasn’t going to sign anything until a lawyer was there and didn’t sign the paper. The whole interrogation took about one hour after which I was taken to another room where a second interrogator wrote down my statement. Then he called my father and asked him to appoint a lawyer for me.”
“After the interrogation I was taken to a room with two beds where I stayed with four other boys. We were brought some food. A soldier kept coming into the room to wake us up. At one point he wanted to know what I had confessed to but I refused to tell him. He didn’t like it and tightened the plastic tie even more. It was very painful. That evening we were taken to Ofer prison near Ramallah where they gave me a security check, took my clothes and gave me prison clothes. Then I was taken to Cell 13 where I stayed with other prisoners my age. When I arrived at Ofer I relaxed a bit and stopped being afraid.”
“The following day I was taken to a military court. My parents were not in court because they were not informed. There was no lawyer in court and the judge asked me for my name and asked me if I wanted a private lawyer. I told him I wanted a lawyer from an NGO. The judge spoke in Hebrew and then I was told the hearing was adjourned. Six days later I had another court hearing. This time a lawyer and my father were there. The lawyer spoke to the judge in Hebrew and when he was done I told the judge I was beaten and that everything the interrogator wrote was false. The hearing was adjourned. I had two more court hearings. On the third hearing the lawyer told my father I was going to be released that day and that he had to pay a fine of NIS 1,000. My father paid the fine and I went home on Thursday, 21 November 2013, 10 days after being arrested. I arrived at home at around 10:30 at night.”
“My mother had cooked vine leaves. I had dinner and went to bed. I slept very well that night. It was a very difficult experience. It was my first time in prison.”