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Testimony: J.M.

 Name:  J.M.
 Age:  16 years
 Date of incident:  6 November 2013
 Location:  Deir Nidham, West Bank
 Accusation:  Throwing stones
On 6 November 2013, a 16-year-old boy from Deir Nidham, in the West Bank, is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:30 a.m. and accused of throwing stones.
“I woke up at around 2:30 a.m. because of loud banging at our front door. I stayed in bed. My father opened the door and about six masked Israeli soldiers entered our house. They told my father they wanted to search the house. They came to my room and asked for my name. Then they told me to get dressed because they were going to take me for questioning. They said they were going to return me in two hours. My father objected and tried to argue with them but was not successful. I got dressed and went out with the soldiers. Outside the house they blindfolded me and tied my hands to the front with three plastic ties; one around each wrist and one connecting the two. They pushed me inside a jeep where another young man was sitting. I sat on a seat. Inside the jeep the soldiers cocked their guns to scare us. The jeep drove for a short time before it arrived at the nearby settlement of Halamish.”
“At Halamish they made me sit outside on a rock. It was cold and they made me take off my jacket. I asked to use the bathroom but they refused. I asked for some water but they refused. After waiting out in the cold for nearly 30 minutes, I was taken to see a doctor who asked if I suffered from any illnesses or allergies. The doctor gave me some water. Then they made me sit inside. They removed the hand ties but kept me blindfolded. Then I was taken outside again. I sat on the rock from around 4:00 a.m. until around 8:00 a.m. I was desperate to use the bathroom but I wasn’t allowed. Then I was taken in a jeep to Binyamin police station. I think I arrived there at around 9:00 a.m. At Benyamin I waited outside until around 12:30-1:00 p.m., still not allowed to use a bathroom. Then I was taken for interrogation.”
“I told the interrogator I wasn’t going to answer any questions until he allowed me to use the bathroom, which he did. The interrogator asked me for my name, brought me some water and asked me if I wanted any tea or coffee. He didn’t say anything about my right to silence or my right to see a lawyer. Then he asked me if I threw stones. When I told him I didn’t throw stones he told me not to play games with him. Then he told me that my friend had confessed against me. He also asked me about Molotov cocktails and I told him I didn’t throw Molotov cocktails. Then he brought in another boy and told me he was the one who confessed against me. When I didn’t react he banged the table, slapped me on my neck and told me to confess. Then a policeman entered the room and tied me to the chair. He slapped me on the face. I was tired and sleepy by then so I told the interrogator I wanted to confess to throwing one stone. He wasn’t pleased and wanted me to confess to throwing 20 stones and a Molotov cocktail. He was typing on his computer the whole time.”
“After the interrogation I was fingerprinted me and shown a document written in Hebrew. The interrogator asked me to sign it but I refused. He got angry and banged the table. Then I signed one paper out of many which he showed me. Then I was taken outside. A short while later the interrogator came back and asked me if I was willing to confess against my friends in return for 100 shekels. I refused and told him I wasn’t willing to confess against anyone even if he gave me a million shekels. In the evening I was taken to Ofer prison. The other prisoners made me some food. Then at around 6:30 p.m. I was taken to Ofer military court. A lawyer was there but not my parents because they were not informed. I didn’t understand much of what went on in court and the proceedings were adjourned.”
“I had many courts hearings. Each time my parents attended because this was the only way for them to get to see me. I told the judge I was beaten by the interrogator and that I confessed because he beat me. The judge didn’t say or do anything when I told him this. The prosecutor wanted me to spend eight months in prison but my lawyer came to a plea bargain of five months and a fineof 1,500 shekels in addition to a four-and-a-half months suspended sentence for one year. I was released from prison on 23 March 2014. Twelve days before I was released I was transferred to a prison in the Negev inside Israel. My parents were not given permits to visit me in Ofer or in the Negev. The authorities refused to give them a permit to visit me on security grounds. In prison I was allowed to study English and Maths.”
“On the day of my release I was driven to Addahriyeh checkpoint where my father was waiting. We arrived home at around 9:00 p.m. It was a difficult experience especially during the first few days in prison when I didn’t know what to expect. I missed my family, my friends and my village. Now I am scared when I hear soldiers in the village. This experience made me feel scared of soldiers.”