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Testimony: M.H.M.S.


Name: M.H.M.S.
Age: 15
Date: 7 February 2020
Location: Qalqiliya, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones / Molotovs

On 7 February 2020, a 15-year-old minor from Qalqiliya was arrested by Israeli soldiers during clashes at 5:30 p.m. He reports being interrogated multiple times without first being informed of his right to silence and right to consult a lawyer.

I was watching clashes with soldiers when a female soldier was hit with a Molotov cocktail. It was around 5:30 p.m. Suddenly the soldiers started shooting and I was hit in my left arm with a rubber-coated metal bullet. I was in shock and pain. The I was surrounded by about 10 soldiers who started to kick and slap me, as well as beating me with batons and their guns. The soldiers swore at me and told me they wished I was dead. 
Then a soldier blindfolded me and tied my hands behind my back with two plastic ties on top of each other. The ties were so tight that I felt my wrists were going to be cut off. The soldiers then led me to the military checkpoint nearby where a soldier shackled my legs. 
I was put in a room at the checkpoint. A female soldier untied my hands and a group of soldiers entered the room and started to beat me. One soldier used a baton to beat me and I covered my head with my hands to protect myself. Another soldier beat me on the bullet wound and I was in severe pain. This went on and off during a period of about two hours. All this happened in front of the commander who stood aside and did not say a word other than swear at me every now and then.
Then I was tied again and taken to the back of the jeep where soldiers forced me onto my stomach on the metal floor. Inside the jeep the soldiers continued to beat and slap me and one soldier cocked his gun and aimed it at me to scare me. The jeep drove towards a nearby military base where I was left in a room for about three hours. I was shackled, tied and blindfolded the whole time. 
After about three hours I was taken to Al Jalama checkpoint where a soldier took off my shirt and tied me to a post and left me there in the cold for about two hours. They brought a dog which sniffed me and I was terrified that the dog might bite me. Then an ambulance drove by and someone checked my wounded arm. Then I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator removed the blindfold but kept me tied and shackled. He called my name and invited me to sit down. Then, without informing me of my rights, he asked me where I had hidden the Molotov cocktail and wanted to know about weapons. I told him I had no idea what he was talking about and that I did not take part in the clashes.  Then I told him I wanted a doctor to have a look at my arm. He left the room and another interrogator came in.
The second interrogator asked me about pipe bombs. I asked “what pipe bombs?” Then he told me he had video footage of the pipe bombs being thrown at the soldiers. I asked him to show me the footage and told him if I am seen in the footage with pipe bombs he could do anything he wanted to me. He told me the law did not give him permission to show me the footage but he showed me some photographs and I denied I was in the photographs. He then swore at me. I told him he did not have any evidence against me and I wasn’t going to confess to something I did not do. He then called two soldiers into the room and they pushed me off the chair and started to slap me. One of them was yelling at me telling me to confess but I did not confess.
At the end of the interrogation he asked me whether I wanted a lawyer. I told him I wanted a lawyer. He phoned one and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me not to confess and not to say unnecessary things. The interrogator was listening to the conversation which lasted a few minutes and then he told me it was not necessary or useful to speak to a lawyer and cut the line off. Then he told me I had the right to remain silent. After informing me of my right to silence he showed me a document written in Hebrew and asked me to sign it but I refused to sign.
I was left in the same room, sitting on the same chair for a whole week. During this week I was interrogated once every 24 hours, sometimes at 3:00 a.m.  I was exhausted and sleep deprived and at the end of the week I could not think straight. Each time I dosed off on the chair someone would throw water at me to wake me up. I was not informed of my rights and did not speak to a lawyer during these interrogations. They gave me unappetising food but I ate it because I had no choice. Each time I asked to use the toilet I was accompanied by two soldiers who came into the bathroom with me. 
After this week I was taken to a cell the size of a small bathroom where I spent a whole month. I could barely sleep in the cell because it was exactly my size. There was a sink and one small window near the ceiling. They gave me a filthy thin blanket and a smelly pillow. They brought in other detainees who tried to get information from me and I was very suspicious of them and was almost sure they were informants. I did not say anything to them. I spent most of my time sleeping on the floor.  
After about a month I was taken to Megiddo prison, inside Israel. At Megiddo I was strip searched and the soldier who searched me told me I had to shit the smuggled telephone and that he had all the time in the world to wait. I complained and asked to speak to the commander. Then I was taken to a hospital where a doctor checked my injured arm. I spent a week at the hospital and the staff did not treat me well. Then I was taken back to Megiddo prison.
Two days later I had a military court hearing via video link because of the Corona Virus regulations. I had many hearings and at the last one I was sentenced in a plea bargain to eight months in prison, fined NIS 3,000 and given a suspended sentence of 10 months valid for three years. I accepted the plea bargain because my father told me to.
I spent my prison sentence in Megiddo prison. My mother visited me once and I spoke to them by phone once every two weeks. I was released early for good conduct on 18 August 2020. My parents were not informed of my release and I took a taxi from Al Jalame checkpoint to Jenin where my father met me. I arrived home at around 9:00 p.m.