|Date:||10 June 2019|
|Location:||Jenin, West Bank|
On 10 June 2019, a 16-year-old minor from Jenin refugee camp was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 4:30 a.m. He reports being shown a document about his legal rights but not consulting with a lawyer prior to interrogation.
I woke up to the sound of a very loud explosion at our front door. It was around 4:30 a.m. I jumped out of bed and went to see what had happened. About 30 Israeli soldiers had blown off our front door and entered our home.
The commander asked to see our identity cards. Then the soldiers searched our house. They told us they were looking for weapons. They turned our home upside down and damaged our furniture. Then the commander asked me whether I suffered from any illnesses and then told me I was under arrest. He did not give any reasons.
Then I was taken outside where a soldier tied my hands behind my back with two plastic ties on top of each other. They were very tight and painful. They also blindfolded me. The soldiers then led me to the back of a military jeep and made me sit on the metal floor. Inside the jeep the soldiers slapped and beat me with their guns.
The jeep drove to Al Jalama checkpoint where I was left outdoors. Soldiers beat me there and called me “a son of a whore”. About three hours later I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator removed the blindfold and gave me a document saying I was at Al Jalama interrogation centre. It also said I had the right to ask for a lawyer and the right to either talk or remain silent. The interrogator did not call a lawyer for me and I did not speak to one.
The interrogator accused me of communicating with a person from Gaza and making and throwing pipe bombs. I denied the accusations. Then he named one of my friends and told me he had confessed against me. The interrogator was short tempered and agitated. He yelled at me from time to time and at one point accused me of murder. He gave me dates and accused me of throwing pipe bombs on those dates. I denied all the accusations. Then he showed me a photograph of someone holding a gun and asked me to sign it which I did. I did not realize the implications at the time.
He questioned me for about two hours and when I told him I wanted to remain silent he yelled at me and told me I was accused of killing people and therefore I had to speak to make it easier for myself. He told me if I remained silent I would be sentenced to five years in prison but if I spoke I would be sentenced to one year in prison. He threatened to arrest my father and brother if I did not speak. Then he told me my father and brother were waiting outside but that turned out not to be true.
At the end of the interrogation he gave me documents in Arabic and asked me to sign it. I refused to sign because I was worried he might add things to it behind my back.
After the interrogation I was taken to Salem military court. My parents were not there because they did not know there was a hearing and the hearing was conducted behind closed doors. The judge extended my detention for more interrogations and the hearing was adjourned.
I was taken to Ramleh prison inside Israel and one day later to Megiddo prison, also inside Israel. At Megiddo I was strip searched and asked to crouch up and down while naked. Then I was taken to the minors’ section.
Two days later I was taken for more interrogation at Salem. The interrogator informed me of my rights in writing but did not call a lawyer for me and I did not speak to one. He questioned me for about 30 minutes and accused me of the same accusations. I denied them all. He gave me documents in Hebrew and asked me to sign them but I refused to sign. After the interrogation I was taken back to Megiddo.
I had about 15 military court hearings which my parents attended. In the end I was sentenced in a plea bargain to one year in prison and fined NIS 4,000. I also received a suspended sentence valid for two years. I accepted the plea bargain because it meant I would be released the same day. The hearing was conducted via video link because of the Corina virus regulations.
I was released on 11 May 2020 after court and went home with my family.
My father did not visit me in prison because he was denied a permit for security reasons but my mother and brother visited me regularly. In prison I exercised to keep fit and I was in charge of cleaning the section I was in. I dropped out of school before I was arrested and I don’t intend to go back. I want to look for a job to help my family financially.