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Home » Children »

Testimony: M.T.A.G.

 

Name: M.T.A.G.
Age: 14
Date: 22 July 2017
Location: Bir Zeit, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones
 
On 22 July 2017, a 14-year-old boy from Bir Zeit is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 12 noon outside a mechanics shop. He is accused of throwing stones and sentenced to 6 months in prison by a military court.
 
It was the summer holidays and I was training as a car mechanic when I saw an Israeli military jeep our shop. It was around noon. I was scared when I saw the soldiers and instinctively went inside.
 
Shortly afterwards the soldiers entered the shop and immediately threw me to the floor and started to beat me all over my body; on my back, on my legs and shoulders, slapping and kicking. Then they took me outside and more soldiers took part in slapping and kicking me. I was terrified.
 
Then they took me to the back of a jeep and threw me on the metal floor. They continued to beat me inside the jeep. They slapped me on the back of my head and kicked me on my legs. They also swore at me and called my mother and sisters “whores”.
 
The jeep drove for about 10 minutes to a place I did not recognise and I was left out in the sun for about an hour. Then I was taken back to the jeep where I sat on the floor again. Inside the jeep a soldier tried to tie my hands with a plastic tie but it was too tight and he removed it. Instead, I was handcuffed to the front with metal handcuffs which were not painful.
 
The jeep drove to the police station in Binyamin settlement where I was left on the floor in a room with some soldiers until around 4:00 a.m. Inside the room I was shackled and I could not sleep at all. I was very uncomfortable and scared. I was not given any food but I was given some water and allowed to use the toilet.
 
I later found out from my mother that at around 11:00 p.m. that night somebody from the police station called my mother and asked her to appoint a lawyer for me. When she told him it was impossible to find a lawyer in the middle of the night the person told her they would appoint one for me. Later that night a lawyer called my mother and told her he was going to represent me and attend my interrogation.
 
At around midnight a lawyer called me on the interrogator’s telephone and told me he would try to get me released in court and that I had to spend the night at the police station. At around 4:30 a.m. I was taken for interrogation.
 
The interrogator was in civilian clothes and had a tape recorder in the room. He removed the handcuffs but kept my shackles on and asked me if I wanted a lawyer. He told me I had the right to appoint a lawyer and the right not to confess or say anything. The lawyer who told my mother he would attend my interrogation never did.
 
Then the interrogator accused me of throwing stones at soldiers. I denied the accusation and told the interrogator I was scared when I saw the soldiers and that was why I ran into the shop.
 
The interrogator questioned me for about 20 minutes and was typing on his computer while questioning me. In the end he printed out a document in Hebrew and asked me to sign it but I refused to sign and asked him to provide a translation and he did. I signed the Arabic version because it was identical to what I had told the interrogator.
 
Then I was examined by a doctor and then they took my photograph and fingerprints and I was taken to Ofer prison. At Ofer I was strip searched and taken to Section 13 where I ate for the first time in about 20 hours.
 
Two days later I was taken to Ofer military court. My mother and my lawyer were in court and the hearing was adjourned. I had about 10 military court appearances. The military court summoned the soldiers to court but they never came.
 
At the last hearing I accepted a plea bargain of 6 months in prison and a fine of 2,000 shekels. I was also given a suspended sentence of one year in prison valid for 4 years. Around mid-December I was taken to Ramleh court inside Israel to decide whether they would grant me early release. I appeared in that court twice and in the end I was granted early release.
 
I was released from Ofer on 20 December 2017, and I went home with my brothers. My mother invited my friends for a meal the following day to celebrate my release.
 
In prison I studied mathematics and Arabic but the standard was low and I did not find it useful. I missed a whole semester at school and I have to work very hard now to try to catch up.