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Testimony: A.H.A.T.


Name: A.H.A.T.
Age: 14
Date of incident: 9 August 2016
Location: Beit Fajjar, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones

On 9 August 2016, a 14-year-old boy from Beit Fajjar is arrested by Israeli soldiers at midnight and accused of throwing stones. He is released on bail on 7 September 2016.

I had just fallen asleep at around midnight when I woke up to the sound of a commotion around the house. I then heard my mother say that Israeli soldiers had come to the house. I was scared and hid my head under the duvet. My father went quickly to answer the door and about 10 soldiers entered our home. The commander immediately asked for the “mujahideen” meaning the fighters.
The commander then ordered all of us to go out of the house and to wait in the courtyard. My younger sister, who is 10 months old, was terrified and she clung to my mother who covered her with a blanket. The commander thought my mother was hiding something under the blanket and pointed his gun at her.
The soldiers rushed us all outside while I was still in my shorts and T-shirt. They made me sit on a plastic chair and asked to see my identity card. Then a soldier asked me for my name and immediately jumped at me as if I was the most dangerous person in the world.
The soldiers pushed me to the ground and immediately tied my hands to the front with one plastic tie. The tie was tight and painful and left marks on my wrists for a long time. A soldier searched me and wanted to take me away but I told him I wanted to put my clothes on. The commander interfered and allowed me to get dressed. I gave my mother a hug and left the house with the soldiers.
My 19-year-old sister started to cry and pleaded with the soldiers not to take me away but they ignored her. They pushed my family back into the house and shut the door behind them. The soldiers did not tell us why they were arresting me or where they were taking and did not give my parents any written documents.
The soldiers led me towards a military jeep just outside the house where they blindfolded me and put me in the back where I sat on a seat. The jeep drove for about 15 minutes to the police station inside Etzion settlement.
At Etzion I was taken to a small room with another detainee and I slept on a mattress on the floor. I was allowed to use the toilet but I wasn’t given any food or drink. I slept for about four hours and I remained tied and blindfolded the whole time. At around 8:00 a.m. the following morning I was taken for interrogations.
The interrogator wore civilian clothes. I did not see a tape or video recorder in the room. He removed the blindfold but kept me tied. He did not inform me of my rights and immediately accused me of throwing stones at soldiers and of burning tires. In the beginning I denied the accusation but then I was scared when he started to yell at me and I confessed. The interrogation lasted for about 10 minutes and the interrogator did not show me any documents and did not ask me to sign anything. He then took me to see another interrogator.
The second interrogator told me I had the right to consult with a lawyer and called one for me. He also said something about remaining silent but I did not understand what he meant. A lawyer spoke to me and told me not to confess to anything. When I told him I already had he told me to say I confessed because I was yelled at. The lawyer also told me there were confessions against me from other boys and he named two boys.
The second interrogator told me I had confessed to throwing stones and to shooting and burning tires. In the beginning I denied I had confessed but then the first interrogator came in and confirmed that I had confessed to him. The second interrogator had a tape recorder on and lost his temper from time to time and banged the table. The second interrogation lasted for about 45 minutes. The interrogator showed me a document in Hebrew and asked me to sign it. He told me it said that I had consulted with a lawyer. I signed the document.
I was then taken to a courtyard and given some food and water. I was also allowed to use the toilet. Then I was taken to a prison cell at Etzion where I was strip searched. The tie was removed and I spent a few hours there until the evening.
Then I was handcuffed and shackled and taken put in a GMC vehicle where I sat on a seat. The vehicle drove for about 30 minutes to Ofer prison where I was strip searched again and taken to Section 13. I arrived at Ofer at around 9:00 p.m.
The following day I was taken to Ofer military court. My lawyer was there and the hearing was adjourned. My parents did not attend because they were not informed.
The following day I was shackled and taken in a troop carrier to the police station in the settlement lf Kiryat Arba for another interrogation. This interrogator questioned me about throwing stones and told me there were confessions against me. He did not inform me of my rights. He named some boys who are my relatives and told me they were with me throwing stones and wanted me to confirm this and implicate them but I was careful and denied that I was throwing stone with the boys he named. He made me sign a document in Hebrew which I didn’t understand.
The interrogation lasted for about 30 minutes and I was taken back to Ofer prison.
I had three additional military court hearings which my parents attended. All I could understand was that the hearings were adjourned. On the fifth hearing the military court decided to release me on bail and my parents had to pay NIS 1,500. The judge gave the prosecutor 48 hours to appeal. I was released on 7 September at around 7:00 p.m. My father was waiting for me outside court and I went home with him.
In prison I studied Mathematics and Arabic. I did not get any family visits because the permit was not issued in time. It usually takes about two months for the permit to be issued. I missed my family a lot, especially my younger sister.  I had another military court hearing on 28 September 2016, but hardly anything happened and the hearing was adjourned until 12 December 2016.