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Home » Children »

Testimony: W.A.M.S.

 

Name:  W.A.M.S.
Age:  16
Date:  19 February 2019
Location:  Al Khader, West Bank
Accusation:  Throwing stones/Molotovs

On 19 February 2019, a 16-year-old minor from Al Khader was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 4:30 a.m. He reports being interrogated multiple times without first being informed of his legal rights under military law.

My mother woke me up to tell me that Israeli soldiers were at my uncle’s house who lives nearby. It was around 4:30 a.m. I got up and looked out the window and saw about 20 soldiers walking towards our house. 
 
My father opened the door for the soldiers who seemed tense. A soldier asked my father for the names of his children. When my father mentioned my name a soldier said they wanted to arrest me. When my father pointed to me and the soldiers realized I was a minor they calmed down a bit.. They asked to see my identity card and then asked us to fetch our mobile phones.  
 
The soldiers gathered my parents and siblings in the living room and took me to my bedroom. Three soldiers accompanied. One of the soldiers was wearing a mask to conceal his identity. They sat me down on a chair in the middle of the room, shut the door and phoned the commander and handed me the phone.
 
The person on the line accused me of threatening “Captain Nasim” on Facebook. I denied it. Then one of the soldiers asked to check my Facebook page. He not find what he was looking for. The commander then asked me if I had another account where I threatened “Captain Nasim” and I told him I did not. Then he told me to get dressed because I was under arrest. We were not given any documentation. 
 
The soldiers searched my bedroom and found some flags and a mask which they confiscated. Then I said goodbye to my family before the soldiers pushed me against a wall and tied my hands to the back with a single plastic tie which was tight and painful. They left marks on my wrists for days. They also blindfolded me before I was taken downstairs and put in the back of a military jeep where I sat on a metal box. 
 
On the way soldiers swore at me and called me “a son of a whore”. The jeep drove to a nearby military base where I was taken to an ambulance where a soldier removed the blindfold and asked me some questions about my health. Then he blindfolded me again and I was taken to the military base where I waited until around 8:30 a.m. 
 
At around 8:30 a.m. I was taken to the police station in Etzion settlement where I was left on a metal bench out in the cold for about 30 minutes before being taken for interrogation.
 
The interrogator removed the blindfold and tie. He wore civilian clothes and had a pistol on his side. As soon and I entered the room he asked me how I was and then told me I had to tell him everything there was to tell if I wanted him to help me prove my innocence. I told him I had nothing to say. Then he showed me a document which informed me of my right to silence. The document also warned me that remaining silent might be used against me in court. I understood this to mean it was better for me to speak.
 
Then the interrogator left the room for about five minutes and then came back with a bunch of screen shots and told me they were from my Facebook page. I told him they were not. Then he showed me photographs of the flags and mask and asked me where I had brought them from and I told him I did not remember. 
 
Then he accused me of threatening “Captain Nasim” and I told him I had no idea who “Captain Nasim” was and that I only knew he conducted arrests. Then he showed me some photographs of young boys throwing stones and pointed to one of them and then showed me his house on a satellite image on his screen. Then he showed me my house and then accused me of throwing Molotov cocktails and stones at soldiers.
 
Half way through the interrogation the interrogator phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me not to worry and to stick to my statement. Then he told me “inshallah” he would see me in court. The conversation lasted for about 30 seconds and the interrogator was listening throughout. Then the interrogator showed me documents in Hebrew and asked me to sign them and I did. Then he handed me over to another interrogator.
 
The second interrogator took off his jacket, rolled up his sleeves and put his pistol on the table in front of me. Then he started to question me about throwing stones and Molotov cocktails and about my Facebook page. He also asked me about my cousin. He did not inform me of my rights and threatened to revoke my father’s and brother’s work permits. At the end of the interrogation gave me documents in Hebrew and asked me to sign them and I did. Then I was taken to see a third interrogator.
 
The third interrogator did not inform me of my rights. He turned his computer screen towards me and showed me a map of my village and wanted me to point to the houses of boys he named. I could not figure out the map and he tried to help me understand it. He pointed to the main entrance and to the main street. 
 
Part way through the interrogation the first interrogator came in, tied my hands and blindfolded me and handed me over to three soldiers who walked me a long distance inside the police station. The soldiers verbally abused me and called me “a son of a whore”. They took me to a cell where I was strip searched and asked me to crouch up and down. I was left in the cell for about six hours and I could not sleep at all. They brought me food.
 
Then the first interrogator came and took me to see a fourth interrogator. This one did not inform me of my rights and showed me photographs of young people and wanted me to give their names. I told him I did not know them. Then I was taken to Ofer where I was strip searched before being taken to Section 13.
 
The following day I was taken to Ofer military court. My brother attended the hearing. I was denied bail and the hearing was adjourned. I had about 15 hearings and at the last one I was sentenced in a plea bargain to eight months in prison and a fine of NIS 3,000. I was also given a suspended sentence of one year valid for three years. My lawyer told me it was a good bargain and that is why I accepted it. Also, the plea bargain was offered about  two months before I would be released and I just wanted to go home as quickly as possible.
 
I spent my sentence at Ofer where I studied Arabic, Hebrew and mathematics. My family visited me about seven times in prison. I was released on 27 September 2019 and I went home with my relatives. I arrived home at around 2:00 p.m.