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Testimony: A.S.A.O.


Name: A.S.A.O.
Age: 17
Date: 24 April 2017
Location: An Nabi Saleh, West Bank
Accusation: Attacking a military jeep

On 24 April 2017, a 17-year-old youth from An Nabi Saleh is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:30 a.m. and accused of involvement in an incident in which a military jeep was attacked in the village. He is sentenced to 5 months in prison by a military court. 

My mother woke me up at around 2:30 a.m. She told me to get up because Israeli soldiers had come our home looking for me. I got dressed and went to the living room where I saw a group of soldiers talking to my father. They told him they wanted to take me for questioning and would return me home afterwards. They did not give us any written documents and I did not ask what they were going to question me about.
I was handcuffed to the front with metal handcuffs which were not painful and taken out of the house. Once outside I was also blindfolded. I was then put in the back of a military jeep where I sat on a metal bench. The jeep then drove to the nearby settlement of Halamish.
On arrival at Halamish I was taken out of the jeep and a doctor examined me. He removed the blindfold and asked me some questions about my health and whether I was beaten by the soldiers. Then I was blindfolded again and the soldiers took me back to the jeep which drove to the police station in Binyamin settlement. We arrived at Binyamin at around 4:00 a.m.
At Benyamin I was taken to a room where they removed the blindfold but kept me handcuffed. I sat on the ground and there were soldiers in the room who were sitting on chairs. They made me sit on the ground facing the wall from 4:00 a.m. until around 3:30 p.m. During this time they brought me some food but I did not eat and they allowed me to use the toilet.
During this time I was taken to another room where I met a lawyer. The lawyer told me to remain silent and not to say anything or answer any questions. At around 3:30 p.m. I was shackled and then I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator wore a police uniform. Before he questioned me he gave me a document in Arabic which said I had the right to remain silent. It also said I was not physically abused or beaten during the interrogation. At the end of the interrogation he asked me to sign this document and I did. I later found out he had called my father and asked him to come to the police station to attend the interrogation but my father refused.
The interrogator told me he wanted to question me about an incident which took place in the village when a military jeep was attacked. He showed me some photographs of the incident. When I denied that I was involved in the incident the interrogator banged the table aggressively in an attempt to scare me. He told me he had the power to lock me up in prison for up to five years. He questioned me for about 90 minutes and I continued to deny the accusation. 
In the end he printed out a document in Hebrew and asked me to sign it but I refused to sign because I did not trust him. Then they took my photograph and my fingerprints and gave me another medical examination.
After the interrogation I waited in a corridor with other detainees from my village. I later found out they were listening in on our conversation but what we talked about was not used against us later in court.
Later I was taken to Ofer prison where we arrived at around 6:00 p.m.. On arrival at Ofer I was strip-searched and asked to crouch up and down while naked. Then I was taken to the juvenile section. I had dinner and went to bed.
The following day I was taken to Ofer military court. My parents were not there because they did not know I had a hearing but my lawyer came. The hearing was adjourned.
The following day I was taken back to Benyamin police station for another interrogation. The interrogator told me I had the right to remain silent but it won’t do me any could if I chose to remain silent. Then he showed me some photographs of the same incident and accused me of being involved but I denied it. Then I was taken back to Ofer.
Two days later I was taken for a third interrogation at Benyamin. This interrogator was an older person and he was accompanied by a policeman. He told me he had 33 years of experience as an interrogator and accused me of attempting to murder a soldier and I denied the accusation. He asked me whether I wanted to spend 20 years in prison and told me if I did not then I had to confess.
The following day I had another military court hearing which was adjourned. In all I had about 25 appearances in court. My charge sheet included attempting to steal a weapon from a soldier. My lawyer asked for me to be released on bail but the request was rejected.
On 18 June 2017,  I was transferred to Megiddo prison inside Israel and was transferred back to Ofer prison in the West Bank on 22 July 2017.
On the last hearing I was sentenced in a plea bargain to five months in prison and fined NIS 5000 shekels. I also received a seven month suspended sentence suspended for five years. I accepted the bargain because if I did not I was going to face at least 18 months in prison. This is what my lawyer told me.
I was released from Ofer prison on 28 August 2017. My parents were not there to meet me because there was some confusion and a delay because of payment of the fine. Outside Ofer I called my parents and they came and took me home. In prison I studied and I sat for my final high school exams and I got good grades.