|Date:||29 January 2020|
|Location:||Al' Arrub, West Bank|
|Accusation:||Throwing Molotov cocktail|
On 29 January 2020, a 15-year-old minor from Al’ Arrub refugee camp was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:00 a.m. He reports being interrogated multiple times and not being informed of his legal rights prior to each interrogation.
I woke up when an Israeli soldier kicked me in the head while I was sleeping in my bed. It was around 2:00 a.m. I did not hear the soldiers enter our home. I was shocked to see soldiers in my bedroom. About 20 soldiers were spread out throughout our house. The commander asked my mother for her identity card and then told her he wanted to arrest me for questioning about stone throwing. He gave my mother a document filled out in Hebrew with details about my arrest. He told my mother to sign the document and then kept it.
The soldiers remained in our home for about one-and-a-half hours. They searched the house for a black T-shirt. They caused damage to the furniture and they broke doors and wardrobes. Then a soldier tied my hands behind my back with four plastic ties. He tightened them which caused me a lot of pain. At the front door I was blindfolded before being taken outside. Once outside I was beaten and verbally abused. My mother saw and heard everything.
The soldiers led me towards the market where military vehicles were waiting. I was taken to the back of one of the vehicles where I sat on the metal floor. I sat between the soldiers’ legs and some of them beat and kicked me on my arms and head. The vehicle drove to Askalan prison inside Israel. The trip took more than three hours and I was exhausted.
On arrival at the prison I was taken to a small cell where I was left by myself for two weeks. During the two weeks I was interrogated multiple times.
The first time I was interrogated I was questioned by someone wearing civilian clothes. He had a camera in the room. Before questioning me he informed me of my right to silence. Then he accused me of throwing a Molotov cocktail at soldiers during a memorial march for Yaser Arafat. I denied the accusation. Then he showed me some photographs of me and my brother. Half way through the interrogation he phoned a lawyer for me and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me not to worry because everything was going to be all right. The interrogator was listening to our conversation which lasted for less than a minute.
On the first occasion I was interrogated for about an hour. The interrogator switched moods during the interrogation. He sometimes was calm and polite and then suddenly would switch to being angry and aggressive. I continued to deny the accusation and did not confess to anything. Then he showed me a document written in Hebrew and Arabic and asked me to sign it. I signed after reading the Arabic version.
I was interrogated almost every day for two weeks. I was informed of my right to silence only before the first interrogation and I spoke to a lawyer only once half way through the first interrogation.
Towards the end of the two weeks I became psychologically drained and I confessed. Spending two weeks in a small cell by myself was not easy and I just wanted the situation to end at any cost. My thoughts became very negative. When I confessed the interrogator made me sign a document written in Arabic.
At the end of the two weeks I was taken to Ofer prison where I was strip searched and taken to section 13. The following day I was taken to Ofer military court. My parents did not attend because they were not informed. The hearing was adjourned. I had about 18 hearings. My lawyer focused on a suspended sentence I had from a previous imprisonment; he was trying to cancel it.
On 18 May 2020 I had my final court hearing which was conducted via video clink due to the Corona Virus. I was sentenced to eight months in prison and fined NIS 2,000. I was also given a suspended sentence of 16 months valid for five years. I accepted the plea bargain because my lawyer told me if I rejected it I would be sentenced to 18 months in prison instead of eight. I felt it was a good deal and my father was able to reduce the sentence by two months by paying an extra NIS 2,000, so I spent six months in prison.
There were no school classes in prison during the Corona Virus months. I spent my prison sentence at Ofer prison and I passed my time by cleaning the cells and cooking. I was released on 29 July 2020, and I went home with my brother. We arrived home at around 7:00 p.m.
This testimony was produced with the financial support of the German Federal Foreign Office. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Military Court Watch.