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Testimony: Y.A.M.

Name: Y.A.M.
Age: 16
Date of incident: 1 January 2014
Location: At Tabaqa, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones
On 1 January 2014, a 16-year-old boy from the village of At Tabaqa is arrested by Israeli soldiers and accused of throwing stones. He is released without charge nine days later.
“It was 2:00 p.m. and I was on the roof terrace of our house studying. All of a sudden I saw a group of Israeli soldiers approaching the house. As they came closer they called me to come down with my identity card, which I did. They then told me to get dressed properly and to come back down. When I came back one of the soldiers told me I was under arrest and that they were going to take me to prison. I was immediately tied to the back with one plastic tie which wasn’t too tight and dragged to a waiting military vehicle. At the jeep my plastic tie was replaced with another tied to the front. I was also blindfolded and pushed into the vehicle. At first I sat on a seat and then I was kicked and made to sit on the metal floor.”
“The jeep drove for a few minutes and stopped at a military watchtower. I was taken out of the jeep and sat on a bucket for around 30 minutes. No one spoke to me. Then I was put back onto the floor of the jeep which drove for about 10 minutes. I was taken out of the jeep and my blindfold was removed. I was inside an Israeli military base. I was made to sit outside on the ground for about 30 minutes until around 7:30 p.m. Then I was taken to see a doctor and given a brief medical examination. After the medical examination I was taken for interrogation.”
“The interrogator wore a military uniform and spoke broken Arabic. He removed my blindfold but kept me tied. He did not inform me of my right to silence and did not tell me I had the right to consult with a lawyer. He told me he wanted to get me released as long as I helped him. He said he wanted the names of boys from my village who throw stones. I told him I didn’t know any boys who throw stones. Shortly afterwards another interrogator came in. The interrogators played 'good cop, bad cop’. The first interrogator was the bad cop and the second one tried to give me the impression that he was the good guy. The first interrogator got angry whenever I answered 'no’. He would bang the table and raise his voice and the other interrogator would try to calm him down trying to convince me to tell the truth if I wanted to get out of this uncomfortable situation. This lasted for about an hour. I was then blindfolded and taken out of the room. Soldiers made me sit on the ground for about 30 minutes before I was taken back for a second interrogation.”
“During the second interrogation, the first interrogator tried to convince me to confess to throwing stones. I refused and told him I was studying all day long. The interrogator turned his computer on and showed me photographs of boys throwing stones during clashes. He wanted me to tell him who these boys were. I told him I didn’t recognise any of them. The second interrogation lasted for about 30 minutes and I denied the accusation the whole time. The interrogator took me outside to the courtyard where one of the soldiers asked me to crouch for about an hour. At around midnight I was taken back for a third interrogation. This time both interrogators were in the room.”
“During the third interrogation the interrogator repeated the same accusation and wanted the names of boys who throw stones. I denied the accusation and told him I didn’t know any boys who throw stones. At one point the first interrogator got angry and pushed me to the ground. He held my face and sat on my chest. At this point the other interrogator, who was playing good cop, pushed the interrogator off my chest and started to shout at him asking him to get out of the room. The bad interrogator left the room and I was by myself with the second interrogator. The second interrogator told me he wanted to help me get released in return for some names and that this was in my best interest. I told him I didn’t know any names. The interrogator wrote what I told him but didn’t ask me to sign on the statement.”
“At the end of the third interrogation I was put on a bus where I was blindfolded. There were other detainees on the bus. The bus drove for about 30 minutes before it stopped. I was taken off the bus. My blindfold and hand tie were removed and I was photographed and fingerprinted. They did the same to the other detainees on the bus. I was taken back on the bus and the bus drove for another 30 minutes before it stopped at the police station in Etzion settlement. I was searched and immediately taken to a prison cell. In the afternoon I was taken to Ofer prison, near Ramallah. I was shackled and handcuffed. The vehicle drove for about an hour before it arrived at Ofer where I was immediately taken to the waiting room at Ofer military court. I waited for several hours and I was never taken into the court room. I was then taken for a security check where I was strip searched. I was given prison clothes and taken to Section 13 where there were other children.”
“On Sunday, 5 January, I was taken for a fourth interrogation, this time with the Shin Bet intelligence service. I was shackled and handcuffed and taken to the interrogation room where I was with the interrogator by myself. The interrogator asked me the same questions as the other two interrogators. The interrogator was friendly and told me he was going to ask me some questions and that I had the right not answer his questions. He did not tell me I had the right to consult with a lawyer but he asked me for my father’s telephone number. I don’t know whether he called him or not. The interrogation lasted for about an hour and I told the interrogator I didn’t throw stones and I didn’t know anyone who did. The interrogator wrote down what I told him but did not ask me to sign anything. He then took me back to the prison cell.”
“On Tuesday, 7 January, I was taken back to the military court. My parents were there and a lawyer. I was allowed to speak to my parents across the court room. I wasn’t presented with a charge sheet and the hearing was adjourned. I had three other military court hearings, each time the discussion was centered on the fact that I did not confess during interrogation. In the end the military court released me for lack of evidence. I was released at around 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, 9 January. My parents were waiting for me outside court and we arrived home at around 9:00 p.m.”