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Testimony: J.W.F.B.


Name:  J.W.F.B.
Age:  15
Date:  15 December 2018
Location:  Al Arrub, West Bank
Accusation:  Throwing stones

On 15 December 2018, a 15-year-old youth from Al Arrub is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:30 a.m. He reports that he was permitted to speak to a lawyer for a few seconds prior to interrogation but was not informed of his right to silence.

My mother woke me up at around 2:30 a.m. and told me Israeli soldiers had come to our house. Soon afterwards I heard loud banging at the front door and my father answered. About 10 soldiers entered our home. 
The commander asked for me and told my father he wanted to take me to Etzion settlement for questioning and would send me home later the same day. He gave my father a document in Hebrew and asked him to sign it but my father refused to sign because he did not understand what was written in it. They allowed me to put my jacket on but did not allow me to say goodbye to my family. 
Once outside I was tied to the front with one plastic tie which was tight and painful. The tie became more and more painful as the day went on and it left marks on my wrists. Then they blindfolded me and led me through the camp while the soldiers made more arrests. I was taken towards the military watchtower at the entrance to the camp where the soldiers made me sit outside on the ground for about 30 minutes. 
After about 30 minutes I was taken to a military jeep where I sat on the metal floor between the soldiers’ feet. The soldiers were singing hysterically in Hebrew. 
The jeep drove to the police station in Etzion settlement where I spent the night in a room. I was tied and blindfolded the whole time. I was not allowed to sleep; each time I tried to sleep a soldier would kick me and wake me up deliberately. I was allowed to use the toilet but I was not given any food or drink. At around 10:00 a.m. I was taken for interrogation. 
As soon as I entered the interrogation room the interrogator removed the blindfold and then phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me not to confess to something I did not do. The conversation lasted for a few seconds and the interrogator was listening. I was not informed of my right to silence by anyone. Then the interrogator removed the tie and then retied my hands to the chair I was sitting on.
The interrogator accused me of throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at soldiers two days before I was arrested. He told me there were confessions against me by other boys and he named the boys. Then he played a voice recording of the boys confessing against me. I asked the interrogator to show me their faces but he refused and told me I had to first confess against them and only then would he show me their faces. I refused to confess. 
Another person was standing behind me and when I refused to confess he slapped me and swore at me and called me “a son of a whore”. Then the interrogator showed me documents in Hebrew and asked me to sign them and I signed because I was scared of him and I did not want to be beaten anymore. The interrogation lasted for about 2 hours. 
Then I was taken outside where I waited for about 6 hours. I was not given any food or drink and I was very tired. Then I was taken into a cell where I was strip searched. I spent about 4 hours in the cell and then I was taken to Ofer. At Ofer I was strip searched again and a soldier ran a machine on my sensitive parts. Then I was taken into section 19 and that was when I ate for the first time since my arrest. It was around 9 or 10 at night.
The following day I was taken to Ofer military court. I was denied bail and the hearing was adjourned. In all I had about 12 military court hearings. 
During the hearing before last the military judge asked me whether I wanted to confess to throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at a bus. I refused to confess. 
The following day my lawyer explained to me that if I confess I would be released. So at the next hearing I confessed in a plea bargain and I was sentenced to 2 months in prison and fined 1,000 shekels. I was also given a 6-month suspended sentence valid for 6 years. This hearing was on the 4February 2019 and I was released on the same day. 
My father and some of my friends met me outside prison and I went home with them. I arrived home after midnight. In prison I attended classes and studied Arabic, Hebrew and mathematics. My parents did not visit me in prison because they were not issued a permit in time.