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Testimony: H.B.A.B.


Name: H.B.A.B.
Age: 14
Date: 9 January 2017
Location: Al Bireh, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones
On 9 January 2017, a 14-year-old boy from Al Bireh is detained by Israeli soldiers at 9:30 a.m. outside a school and accused of throwing stones. He is released 7 days later on payment of a fine of NIS 1,000.
At around 9:30 a.m., I left school with some friends after my exam. Near the entrance to the school I saw an Israeli military jeep and some boys were throwing stones at it. When it was all over I headed home via a side road. A military jeep followed me down the side road and a soldier shot me in my foot with a rubber bullet as I tried to run away.
After being shot I fell to the ground and three soldiers came over and pushed me down further into the ground. They swore at me and called me a "son of a whore". One soldier sat on my stomach and caused me a lot of pain. I was terrified. At this point the headmaster and another teacher came out of the school and tried to reason with the soldiers to let go of me but the soldiers refused.
The soldiers then tied my hands behind my back with three plastic ties: one on each wrist and another connecting the two. The ties were very tight and I was in pain. They also blindfolded me very tightly and I was very uncomfortable.
After I was blindfolded I was pushed into the back of a jeep where I was made to sit on the metal floor although there were empty seats. The jeep drove for about an hour to the police station in Binyamin settlement.
On arrival at Binyamin at around 11 a.m. I was taken to a room with three adult detainees who tried to comfort me. They told me not to sign any documents and to ask to speak to a lawyer. A soldier removed the blindfold and tried to cut off the ties but couldn’t do it easily and caused me even more pain. I had red marks on my skin a week later. When he finally succeeded to get the ties off he tied me again, but this time I was tied with my hands to the front.
I was left in the room for about 8 hours, until around 7:00 p.m. They took my telephone away and did not offer me any food or drink. They also did not allow me to use the toilet. One of the detainees in the room had an argument with one of the soldiers and things got out of control. The soldier beat the detainee on the head until he bled. I was terrified and could not sleep. Then they took the detainee away.
At around 7:00 p.m. I was taken from the room and made to wait outside another room until around 10:00 p.m. I did not sleep at all and I was very hungry and tired.
At around 10:00 p.m. I was blindfolded and taken to the back of a jeep where I sat on a seat. The jeep drove for about 30 minutes to Al Mascobiyeh interrogation centre in West Jerusalem. On the way the soldiers verbally abused me and swore at God and religion and did not allow me to lift my head up. When we arrived I was immediately taken for interrogation. It was around 10:30 p.m.
The interrogator, who was an older man, spoke good Arabic and wore an Israeli police uniform. He removed the ties and the blindfold and introduced himself. He told me there was no need to be afraid and urged me to confess. He told me Arabs don’t lie.
The interrogator showed me a document which said something about a medical checkup, the name of the interrogator and that they had contacted my father. He asked me to sign the document but I refused. I remembered the advice the other detainees had given me. He offered me an apple and I ate it because I was very hungry. He also gave me some water. I told him I wanted to speak to a lawyer. He called a lawyer for me and the lawyer told me not to worry and took my father’s number. He also told me not to sign any documents.
Then the interrogator told me it wasn’t in my interest to remain silent and that if I did I would end up in prison. He convinced me it wasn’t good for me to remain silent and I believed him. He told me I had two choices: to remain silent and that wasn’t good; or to speak which would be good for me.
Then the interrogator accused me of throwing stones at soldiers using a slingshot. He showed me a picture and told me the person wearing the hat was me. When I denied that it was me he lost his temper and shouted at me accusing me of lying and punched me in the face. I continued to deny the accusation because I felt I didn’t want to give him what he wanted.
Then a person in civilian clothes entered the room and told me I had to confess. He told me not to drive him crazy because he was in a hurry. He swore at me and called me a "bitch son of a whore". The interrogation lasted for about three hours and I continued to deny the accusation.
After about three hours I was taken to a very small room, the size of a small bathroom. It had no windows except a small window in the door. There was a toilet in the room and the light was on but there was no natural light. There was a bad smell in the room and I was scared that I would be left alone in that room and forgotten. I remained in the room for about an hour.
After about an hour I was taken back to a jeep where I sat on a seat. The jeep drove to Atarot police station in East Jerusalem where I was given a medical checkup. I complained to the doctor about the pain in my foot when I was shot but he didn’t do anything. Then he gave me a questionnaire about my medical condition and asked me to fill it out and then sign it which I did.
After the medical check I was taken to a room where the air conditioner was turned on. A short time later I was taken to a GMC vehicle and driven to Ofer prison. I arrived at around midnight. On arrival at Ofer I was strip searched and taken into Section 13.
At around 4:00 a.m. the prison guards woke us up to be counted. At around 6:30 a.m. I was taken to Ofer military court. My father and a lawyer were in court and the hearing was adjourned.
I had two more military court hearings which both my parents attended. My mother told me not to worry and she had tears in her eyes. I couldn’t hold my tears back and cried in court. On the last hearing the court decided to release me but my parents had to pay a fine of NIS 1,000. My father was prepared and had a lot of money with him just in case.
I was released on 16 January 2016 at around 9:30 p.m. My parents took me home. All my relatives and friend came to our house to great me; lots of people came. My mother cooked Maqloubeh and my father bought lots of sweets to offer our guests who didn’t leave until midnight. I was very happy to be home. I went to bed at around 1:00 a.m. and I fell asleep in no time.