|Date:||25 September 2017|
|Location:||Al 'Arrub, West Bank|
On 25 September 2017, a 14-year-old boy from the Al 'Arrub refugee camp is arrested by soldiers at 2:30 a.m. He reports being interrogated without being informed of his right to silence or consulting with a lawyer prior to questioning.
I was woken up by an Israeli soldier in my bedroom shining a torch in my face at around 2:30 a.m. I looked around and saw two other masked soldiers in my bedroom. I was terrified and did not know what was going on. The soldier asked me for my name and then told me to get up because I was under arrest.
The soldiers were in a hurry but I managed to put on a jacket and slip on my shoes, but without socks. They did not allow me to say goodbye to my family and they did not give us any written documents about the arrest.
The soldiers took me outside where they tied my hands to the front with three plastic ties: one on each wrist and one connecting the two. The ties were tight and painful. I was also blindfolded. The soldiers then led me along a dirt road up a hill towards the nearby village.
Once up the hill I was put in a troop carrier where I sat on a seat. The troop carrier drove to the settlement of Karmi Zur where I was taken to a room and I sat on a chair until around 7:00 a.m. I was tied and blindfolded the whole time and felt cold and I couldn’t sleep.
At around 7:00 a.m. I was taken to a military jeep where I sat on a seat and the jeep took me to the police station in Etzion settlement. At Etzion I was examined by a doctor.
After the medical check an interrogator took me to a kitchen and told me I had to confess to throwing Molotov cocktails. He did not inform me of any rights. When I told him I had never even seen a Molotov cocktail he accused me of lying and told me the only language I understood was the language of violence. Then he slapped me hard on my face and beat me on my leg and told me he was going to show me the way. At that point my blindfold fell off but the he put it back on later.
The interrogator then removed the plastic ties and handcuffed me to the back with metal handcuffs which were painful. Then two other interrogators came in and told me I had to confess. They all beat me hard and verbally abused me calling me a "son of a whore" and a "brother of a whore".
Then the interrogators left the kitchen and I rushed outside to see if my father was there to help me. I was terrified and acted out of panic. When the interrogator saw me outside he kicked me and I fell to the ground. He then took me back to the kitchen. The interrogator also banged my head against the wall and stuck his finger in my eye. I was in severe pain and I thought I was blinded because my eye started to bleed. He threatened to give me a hard time if I did not shut up. Then he tightened the handcuffs even more and left.
Sometime later I was taken to see another interrogator who removed the blindfold but kept me handcuffed. He did not inform me of my rights and immediately asked me whether I wanted to confess and I told him I had nothing to confess. Then he told me if I did not confess he was going to let the soldiers beat me. He also told me if I confessed to throwing one stone he would send me home with my father. He told me my father was waiting for me outside but this was not true. I so badly wanted to go home and I was scared of being beaten by soldiers that I decided to confess to throwing a stone.
Then the interrogator phoned my father and asked him if he wanted to appoint a lawyer for me but then hung up before my father gave him an answer. Then the interrogator phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me not to confess. When I told the lawyer I had already confessed the interrogator snatched the phone from me and hung up.
Then the interrogator showed me a document in Hebrew and asked me to sign it and I did without understanding what it said. Then they took my photograph and fingerprints. Then he told me he was going to send me home with my father but instead I was taken to a cell at Etzion. I was searched in my underwear and the blindfold and the handcuffs were removed. I spent about six hours in the cell and I was not given anything to eat or drink.
Later I was taken to Ofer prison where I was strip searched before being taken to Section 13.
The following day I was taken to Ofer military court. My parents were not in court but a lawyer was there and the hearing was adjourned. The judge saw that I had an injured eye but he did not say anything. My lawyer told the judge I confessed because I was beaten hard and the judge decided to send me back for another interrogation. He also summoned the interrogators to court but they never showed up.
After the first hearing I was taken to the settlement of Kiryat Arba for more questioning. The interrogator did not inform me of my rights. I told the interrogator I confessed to throwing a stone because the interrogator told me he would release me and send me home with my father if I did. The interrogator asked me whether my lawyer gave me instructions to say that and whether this was indeed what I wanted to say. The he made me sign three documents in Hebrew.
In all had six appearances in the military court. At the last hearing I was sentenced in a plea bargain to two months in prison and fined 4,000 shekels. I was also given a suspended sentence of eight months in prison suspended for three years.
I spent my entire prison sentence in Ofer prison. In prison I studied Arabic and mathematics. My parents did not visit me in prison because they did not get a permit in time. I only saw them in the military court.
I was released on 10 November 2017. My father hung a banner outside the house with my name and picture to celebrate my release. My mother cooked a nice meal and we all celebrated. I was very happy to be home.
I am in 10th grade and I want to study hard to pass my high school exams. I want to make my mother happy again. When I hear there are clashes in the camp I stay home. Last week there was a national anniversary and my parents decided to keep me at home and not send me to school because they did not want me to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.