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Testimony: R.M.J.A.


Name:  R.M.J.A.
Age:  15
Date:  30 April 2019
Location:  Kafr Ni'meh, West Bank
Accusation:  Throwing stones
On 30 April 2019, a 15-year-old minor from Kafr Ni’meh was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:30 a.m. He reports being informed of his right to silence and consulting with a lawyer over the phone prior to his interrogation.
My cousin phoned me at around 2:30 a.m. to tell me Israeli military jeeps were in our neighbourhood. Soon afterwards I could hear soldiers upstairs trying to enter my brother’s apartment. The soldiers were trying to force the door but my brother opened up before they could break the door. 
Soon the soldiers were banging aggressively at our front door and my father went to see what they wanted. About 10 soldiers entered our home. One soldier asked me for my name and then checked my identity card. Then he told me to prepare myself because I was under arrest. 
The same soldier gave my father a document written in Hebrew. When my father asked him to explain what it was the soldier told him he did not know. Then the commander came and my father asked him what the document was about and he told my father it had details about my arrest. 
I said goodbye to my family and the soldiers took me outside where they tied my hands behind my back with two plastic ties which were tight and painful. They left marks on my wrists for days. They also blindfolded me and led me a short distance to a waiting military jeep. They pushed me into the back of the jeep and made me sit on the metal floor. A soldier swore at god and slammed the door shut behind him.
I was left inside the jeep for about two hours before the commander came, removed my blindfold and told me his name was captain “Majdi”, the intelligence officer for the area. Then he told me he knew everything I had done including throwing stones on the road used by settlers. Then he told me to cooperate with the interrogator if I wanted to be released quickly. Then he said he was going to make me spend some time in prison “to discipline” me. He blindfolded me again and the jeep drove away.
We I arrived at a military base and I was taken to a shipping container where I was examined by a doctor. The doctor removed the blindfold but kept me tied and after the examination he made me sign a document with my hands tied behind my back. Then I was taken to the police station in Binyamin settlement for interrogation.
At the police station they removed the blindfold and replaced the handties with metal handcuffs. They also shackled my legs and tied my handcuffs to the shackles with chains. Then an interrogator took me to a room. By then it was around noon and I was still without food or drink.
The interrogator introduced himself to me and asked me whether I wanted to speak to a lawyer. I told him I did. He phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me if I was asked a question I did not know the answer to I should tell the interrogator I wanted to remain silent. The interrogator left the room when I spoke to the lawyer. The conversation lasted for less than a minute. 
After about a minute the interrogator came back and told me I had the right to remain silent. But he warned me that the court would take that into account if I chose to remain silent. I understood that to mean it was not in my interests to remain silent. Then he gave me a document about my rights and asked me to sign it and I did.
Then he turned a voice recorder on and started to question me. He wanted to know everything I knew about two of my friends. I told him they were from my village but they were not my friends. Then he wanted to know who my friends were and I told him I did not have specific friends. Then he asked me whether I usually hang out with a group of boys at night and I told him I did not. Then he wanted to know the last time I was with two of my friends at the park. I told him about two months ago. 
During the interrogation when I did not want to answer a question I told the interrogator I wanted to remain silent. He accepted this and wrote it down on his computer. 
At one point he showed me photos of clashes with soldiers and wanted me to name the boys in the photos. He questioned me for about two hours and was calm the whole time. 
After about two hours he took me to another room and asked me the same questions again. Eventually I felt I had to confess. He asked me how many stones I had thrown and I told him I threw one stone. Then he showed me a document written in Hebrew and Arabic and asked me to sign it and I did after I read it saw it was identical to what I had said. Then I was taken outside and a soldier brought me a sandwich.
Soon afterwards I was taken to Ofer prison. I was left in the jeep outside Ofer until the evening. Then I was taken inside where I was searched in my underwear before being taken to Section 13.
The following day I was taken to Ofer military court. My father attended and the hearing was adjourned. 
I had four military court hearings and at the last one I was sentenced in a plea bargain to 45 days in prison, fined NIS 2,000 and received a suspended sentence of three months in prison valid for three years. I accepted the plea bargain because I wanted to go home before Eid and the plea bargain meant I would be released in another 10 days.
I spent the whole time at Ofer prison. My parents did not visit me because the visiting permit was not issued in time. I was released on 30 May 2019 and I went home with my father. I arrived home at around noon.