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Testimony: N.S.G.A.


Name: N.S.G.A.
Age: 15
Date: 11 November 2021
Location: Bethlehem, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones

On 11 November 2021, a 15-year-old minor from Bethlehem was arrested by Israeli soldiers during clashes at a military checkpoint at noon. He reports speaking to a lawyer briefly prior to interrogation but not being informed of his right to silence. 

Students at my school left school to mark the anniversary of the death of Arafat. A group of us went to a nearby Israeli military checkpoint. I was arrested there by soldiers. It was around noon. A female soldier grabbed me but I managed to escape. Then I wanted to help one of my friends escape from another soldier, but instead, I was captured by soldiers in civilian clothes. My friend ran away and did not help me.
One of the soldiers hit me hard with his pistol on the back of my neck. I lost consciousness. When I regained consciousness, I found myself near the checkpoint surrounded by lots of soldiers. I was handcuffed to the back with metal handcuffs which were painful. They played video footage on their mobile phones and tried to determine whether I took part in the demonstration or not. Then the captain told me I was under arrest.
Then the soldiers walked me towards the checkpoint. The female soldier who I escaped from recognized me and hit me on the back and in the stomach. One of the soldiers asked me for my father’s telephone number and then called him and told him I was under arrest. I was left kneeling down for about one-and-a-half hours. Then I was taken to the settlement of Kiryat Arba. We arrived there at around 3:00 p.m. I was taken in a jeep and I sat on a seat.
At Kiryat Arba I was taken to a room and I sat on a sofa. A soldier loosened the handcuffs. Then I spoke to a lawyer on the phone who told me not to be afraid. He also told me I had the right to ask for water and then asked me if I had been beaten. The conversation lasted a couple of minutes. Then a soldier hand cuffed me to the front and then, after about an hour, I was taken to an interrogation room.
The interrogator had a voice recorder on his desk. He did not inform me of my right to silence. He accused me of throwing stones at soldiers and I denied the accusation. Then he showed me video footage which showed people throwing stones. I was questioned for about half an hour and the interrogator was calm. At the end I confessed to throwing stones. Then the interrogator asked me about the other boys. I told him I did not know them. Then he asked me to sign a document written in Hebrew. I asked for a translation and then I signed.
Then they took my fingerprints and photograph and a DNA sample from my mouth. Then I was examined by a doctor who gave me a PCR test. I told him I was beaten up and he rubbed some cream on my back. 
After the medical check I was taken to Ofer prison where I was strip searched before being taken to a cell the size of a small bathroom. It did not have any windows. There was a dim light which they sometimes turned off. I was left in this cell for one-and-a-half days. 
In the middle of the second night I was transferred to another cell with another detainee who I suspected of being a collaborator. He asked me lots of detailed questioned and I did not interact with him. He told me he was like my brother and wanted to know who was with me during the incident. He woke me up at midnight and started to ask me questions about other boys. I called the guard and asked to be removed from the cell because I could not sleep. I was transferred to another cell and three days later I was transferred to another section.
I had four military court hearings. The first one was on 24 November 2021 but I did not attend it because I was dizzy. The last hearing was on the day of my release. I was released on bail on 18 November 2021. My father had to pay NIS 6,000 shekels bail and another NIS 50,000 bond. I was also placed under house arrest but I was allowed to go to school accompanied by my father. The military judge released me because my mother had a nervous breakdown when I was in prison. He also wanted me to go back to school.
Since my release I have attended four court hearings. The court refunded NIS 2,500 and then later they refunded an additional NIS 1,000. I was given a suspended sentence of eight months in prison valid for five years. 
I was released at Ofer on 18 November 2021 and I went home with my father. I arrived home at around 10:00 p.m.