Testimony - W.T.
|Date of incident:||2 November 2012|
|Location:||An Nabi Saleh, West Bank|
|Nature of incident:||Throwing stones|
On 2 November 2012, a 17-year-old boy from An Nabi Saleh is arrested by Israeli soldiers whilst participating in a protest and is accused of throwing stones.
“After mid-day prayers on Friday, 2 November, I joined a protest against the confiscation of a local spring. During the demonstration, soldiers fired a lot of tear gas. I ran away with the other demonstrators to escape the gas. We went to an abandoned house but were ambushed by soldiers waiting inside. One of the soldiers, who was large and overweight, lifted me up and threw me to the ground. The floor was covered with stones and broken glass and I injured my head, feet, right arm, and received some scratches to my back. After he threw me on the ground, the same soldier sat on my stomach and punched me in the face. Another soldier kicked me and I was hit with the butt of a gun. More than 20 soldiers gathered around me and started to curse me. I was then tied very painfully with a plastic tie to the front. I screamed in pain and refused to move, at which point a soldier removed the plastic tie and replaced it with another one slightly less tight.”
W.T. was then blindfolded and led to a waiting jeep. Once inside the jeep he was made to sit on a metal box. “The driver of the jeep, who was a border policeman, punched me in the head and I screamed. At this point the soldier who led me to the jeep head-butted me with his helmet on. He hit me near the left eye which became swollen and turned blue. He also head-butted me in the mouth. My lip was cut and my face was covered with blood. Then the same soldier cursed me all the way until we got to the settlement of Hallamish.”
On arrival at Hallamish, W.T. was pushed over and injured his knee. “I was then made to sit on the ground for more than half-an-hour. I began to lose sensation in my fingers and I could no longer see with my injured eye. Someone then asked me in Arabic whether I wanted to drink but I refused. He then took me to a small container which had army equipment in it. They made me sit on the floor for another half-an-hour. I shouted loudly and called for help because I could no longer move my hands. A soldier cut off the plastic tie using a knife. A minute later he tied me again but in a different place. According to my watch which beeps on the hour, I was in the container for about one hour. I was then transported to Binyamin settlement. We arrived the police station at around 4:30 p.m.”
“At Binyamin I was made to wait for four hours. They asked me for my name and age and I gave them my details. They then took a statement and I saw the soldier who arrested me. Two hours later I was taken to a prison cell. I was so tired that I laid down and fell asleep. At 9:00 p.m. I was taken out of the cell and a policeman interrogated me for half-an-hour in the waiting room (not in the interrogation room). He asked me about my name and my father’s name and took out some papers and asked me to answer all the questions in order to release me.”
“The interrogator accused me of throwing stones. I denied the accusation and told him I reserve my right to silence. He told me silence wasn’t going to do me any good and that I had to answer all the questions. I answered by telling him I wasn’t going to answer any questions without a lawyer or one of my parents being present. At this point he got angry and told me I was obliged to answer all the questions. I laughed and the policeman took out his personal pistol and banged it on the table very forcefully. I laughed again. He told me he was going to behave badly towards me if I didn’t answer the questions. He asked me about my father’s name and I told him he already had it. He asked me if my father had been jailed and I told my father was currently in prison.”
“Then he tried to make me sign the statement he took but I refused. I was then taken to be photographed and for my fingerprints to be taken. Then I was taken in a military jeep to Halamish where I was given a medical examination. I was asked some questions about my health situation. I asked the doctor to examine my wounds and bruises which I had suffered but he told me he couldn’t help me. I was then taken to Ofer prison where I waited for two hours. On the way, soldiers turned the music on very loudly. At Ofer I was taken to the children’s section, to cell number 4. It was 3:00 a.m. There were seven children, most of whom were from Al’ Arrub camp.”
“On Sunday soldiers informed the prisoners who were going to be taken to court that day but my name wasn’t mentioned. I think this was deliberate because they didn’t want me to meet my father who had a court hearing scheduled the same day. At 3:00 p.m. I was told I was going to be taken to court. In court I met my family. During the hearing I showed the judge the marks and bruises all over my body. The court ordered that I have to stay in Ramallah on Fridays and imposed a bond of 2,000 shekels (about $570). I then met with my father who cried when he saw me. I was released at 8:00 p.m. the following day.”