Testimony - K.A.
|Date of incident:||10 April 2013|
|Location:||Aida refugee camp, West Bank|
On 10 April, 2013, a 15-year-old boy from the Aida refugee camp, in Bethlehem, is arrested by Israeli soldiers during clashes at the entrance to the camp.
“At around 3:30 p.m. on 10 April, I was at the entrance to the camp with four other young men when clashes broke out with Israeli soldiers. There were about 15 soldiers marching down the street near the entrance to the camp. I tried to run away but one of the soldiers hit me with a baton on my leg and I fell. I was scared and in pain. A soldier tied my hands to the back with one plastic tie so tightly that my hands turned blue. I complained to the soldiers but they did not pay attention to me. They took me and a friend of mine to a nearby field where they made me sit. Some soldiers stayed to keep an eye on us and the rest ran into a nearby house to look for more young men.”
“I was later taken to the military tower where I was made to crouch on the ground with my head bent down. Whenever I lifted my head up a soldier forced my head down again. I sat there in this position for about three hours and then I was put in a military jeep. I sat on a bench and the jeep drove to Atarot police station, near Qalandia checkpoint. I arrived at Atarot at around 7:00 p.m. They made me sit outside in the cold weather until 3:00 a.m. I was then taken to see an interrogator.”
“The interrogator asked me through an interpreter who had sent me to throw stones. I told him no one sent me. My father was allowed into the interrogation room at first. My hands remained tied during the interrogation. There was no recorder or video camera and the interrogator didn’t tell me anything about my rights. The interrogator then asked me why I throw stones and what do I have against Israel. I told him that our land was taken away from us. The interrogator then asked my father to leave the room although he didn’t say anything. He then asked me to sign a paper written in Hebrew but I refused. He then showed me a paper written in Arabic and I signed it. He then told me to wait outside. As I was leaving the room he told me to wait. He asked me whether he and I could cooperate together. I said no and he got very angry, banged at the table and told me to get out.”
“They took my finger prints and then drove me to Ofer prison. At Ofer they made me wait for about one-and-a-half hours at the gate. All this time I was without food or drink. When I asked for water I was given hot water. They allowed me to use the bathroom but they kept my hands tied to the back. A soldier came with me and he unzipped my trousers. It probably was around 5:00 a.m. when I entered Ofer. They took me for a security check where they made me take off all my clothes, including my underwear. I was then taken to a prison cell with other boys around my age. The oldest was 17 and the youngest was 11.”
“The following day I was taken to Ofer military court. It was a Thursday. They shackled and hand cuffed me. In court the hand cuffs were removed but the shackles were kept on my ankles. A female judge was there and she spoke through an interpreter. What I could understand was that my file had arrived. The interrogator was at court but there was no lawyer. No one told me anything about my rights. I did not stay long in court and I was taken back to the cell. I probably attended seven court hearings. My father and my aunt attended all of them. I didn’t understand what went on in these court hearings. There was an interpreter but he wasn’t addressing me. I talked to my father across the court room. I asked him about my sisters and my little brother and about my mother. I understood that the hearing was adjourned. This happened maybe six times and on the seventh session I was sentenced for four months in jail.”
“My father wanted to get me out quicker so he asked the lawyer to ask the judge whether my sentence could be reduced by three months in return for money. My father borrowed money to pay the court in order to get me released. He paid 3,000 shekels (about $850). I think I spent 18 days in prison. I was released on 28 April 2013. I was happy to be released although life outside is not that great. I missed my mother a lot and didn’t like the food in prison.”