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Home » Children »

Testimony: M.Z.S.A.

 

Name: M.Z.S.A.
Age: 16
Date: 16 December 2020
Location: Beit Ummar, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones

On 16 December 2020, a 16-year-old minor from Beit Ummar was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 3:00 a.m. He reports briefly consulting with a lawyer on the phone prior to interrogation but not being informed of his right to silence. 

Israeli soldiers raided our neighbourhood at around 3:00 a.m. First, they went to our neighbour’s house then came to our house. My father opened the door quickly because he did not want them to break it down. About 20 soldiers entered our home. The commander took my father aside and talked to him in the living room for about 15 minutes. Then my father came out and told me and my brother that the soldiers wanted to arrest us because we were suspected of throwing stones at soldiers. The commander did not give us any documents.
 
I got dressed and then a soldier tied my hands to the front with three plastic ties: one on each wrist and another connecting the two. He tightened them very tight and I was in pain. Then they took me outside and threw me on the metal floor of a troop carrier. Inside the carrier I was blindfolded and the carrier drove to the police station in Etzion settlement. 
 
At Etzion I was taken to a room and given a quick medical examination. Then I sat on a chair until around 9:00 a.m. and I could not sleep. There were soldiers in the room and they were making noise. At around 9:00 a.m. I was shackled and made me walk inside the police station for about two hours before being interrogated. 
 
The interrogator removed the ties and the blindfold. Then he handed me a phone and told me to speak to a lawyer. I did not understand what the lawyer was saying, maybe because he spoke broken Arabic. The interrogator was standing beside me and listened to the conversation which lasted less than a minute. 
 
Then, without informing me of my right to silence, the interrogator told me I had to confess just like my brother did. He told me my brother had confessed to throwing a Molotov cocktail at soldiers and he showed me video footage of the incident. When I denied the accusation, he threatened to revoke my father’s work permit. 
 
The interrogator was calm most of the time. At one point he brought my brother into the room and my brother confessed in front of me to throwing a Molotov cocktail at soldiers. My brother was crying when he confessed and he confessed against me and against another boy. 
 
I was questioned for about three hours and the interrogator kept threatening to revoke my father’s work permit. I was very worried that he might be serious about revoking the permit and towards the end I confessed to throwing three stones from a distance of 100 meters which missed. 
 
At the end of the interrogation the interrogator asked me to sign a document written in Hebrew. At first I refused but then I signed without understanding what was written. Then I was taken to another room and they photographed me and took my fingerprints. Then I was taken to a shipping container with my brother and I beat him up because he confessed. I was left there until around 4:00 p.m. and then I was taken to Huwwara interrogation centre. The trip took about six hours although it is not that far away from Etzion. 
 
At Huwwara I was strip searched before being taken to a cell. I spent 18 days in the cell by myself. I was not interrogated and no one spoke to me. The food was disgusting and I could not eat it; I only ate bread and drank water. There was a bunk bed in the cell without a mattress or a pillow, just a blanket. There were no windows and a dim light was left on which drove me crazy. 
 
During my time at Huwwara I had four military court hearings via video link. My mother attended two of them and my detention was extended. Then I was taken to the quarantine section at Megiddo prison, inside Israel. I was strip searched and I spent 26 days in quarantine before being transferred to the juvenile section. 
 
I had a total of 11 military court hearings and at the last one, which was on 18 January 2021, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to two months in prison and fined NIS 1,500. I don't think I was given a suspended sentence but I can't be sure. 
 
I spent the remaining part of my sentence at Megiddo. I was released at Al Jalama checkpoint on 31 January 2021 and I took a taxi to Nablus where my father and brother were waiting for me. I arrived home at around 9:00 p.m.