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Testimony: M.A.A.H.


Name: M.A.A.H.
Age: 16
Date: 4 April 2017
Location: Al Arrub, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones

On 4 April 2017, a 16-year-old youth from Al Arrub refugee camp is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 1:30 a.m. and accused of throwing stones. He reports only being told of his right to consult with a lawyer half way through his interrogation. 

My mother woke me up at around 1:30 a.m. and told me Israeli soldiers were in the neighbourhood; she wanted me to get dressed and be prepared in case they came to arrest me. The soldiers went to my uncle’s house and then to my grandparent’s house before my father went downstairs and found out they were looking for me.
About seven soldiers entered our house and around a dozen others surrounded the house. Some of the soldiers were wearing face masks. One soldier showed me some photographs of clashes with soldiers and I told him I was not among the stone throwers in the photos. Then they went into my bedroom looking for a particular jumper seen in the photographs. When they realised I was wearing a similar jumper they told me I was under arrest. They did not give us any written documents and did not tell my parents where they were taking me.
The soldiers then pushed my siblings into the living room and did not allow them to leave. Outside the house they tied my hands behind my back with two plastic ties; one on top of the other. The ties were not painful. I was also blindfolded. I could hear my sisters crying and shouting as they argued with the soldiers and tried to prevent them from taking me away. One soldier told my sister they were arresting me because I threw stones during clashes between the village and soldiers.
The soldiers led me along a dirt road and I fell on the ground many times. Then I was put in the back of a military jeep where I sat on the metal floor because the jeep was full of soldiers. Inside the jeep the soldiers were singing and shouting as if they were having a party.
The jeep drove for about two hours to the police station in the settlement of Kiryat Arba where I was examined by a doctor with the ties and blindfold still on. Than I was taken back into the jeep where I sat on the floor and the jeep drove for about 30 minutes to the police station in Etzion settlement. At Etzion I was taken to a room where I waited for about an hour. During this time I used the toilet but I was not given any food or drink. Then I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator was in civilian clothes and had a tape recorder on the table. He removed the blindfold and replaced the plastic ties with metal handcuffs and handcuffed me to the front. He did not inform me of my rights and started by telling me he would send me home if I confessed against the boys who threw stones with me. I told him I did not throw stones and therefore I had nothing to say. He was upset with my answer and banged the table with his gun. He insisted I did throw stones and wanted me to confess and to give him names of other boys. I continued to deny the accusation.
He interrogated me for more than three hours and I continued to deny the accusation and did not give any names. He was typing on his computer during the interrogation. About half way through the interrogation he asked me whether I wanted a lawyer. He asked me if I knew one and I gave him the name of a lawyer I knew. Then he called the lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me not to confess and not to be afraid but did not tell me I had the right to silence.
Then the interrogator showed me a document written in Hebrew and wanted me to sign it but I refused to sign and asked for a translation. Then he left the room and came back with a document in Arabic. The document said I was brought to Etzion police station and that I was going to be taken to Ofer prison and that I was not hurt. I signed the Arabic document.
Then I was taken to another room where I was searched in my clothes. I was then driven to Ofer prison. At Ofer I was searched again in my clothes and then I was put in Section 13.
Two days later I was taken to Ofer military court. My father was in court and my lawyer asked for my release on bail but the judged rejected the request. I had five appearances in the military court and during this time I was transferred to Megiddo prison inside Israel. 
On the last hearing I was sentenced in a plea bargain to six months in prison fined 1,000 shekels. In addition was given a suspended sentence of three months valid for three years. I was sentenced without a lawyer present because the lawyers were on strike. I accepted the plea bargain because I wanted the whole thing to be over because the trip from Megiddo to Ofer for the hearings was exhausting and I could not take it any longer.
I spent three months in Megiddo prison and then I was transferred back to Ofer prison. My parents visited me about two months after my arrest because the permit took that long to be issued.
I was released from Ofer prison on 13 September 2017 and I arrived home after midnight. Lots of family and friends were waiting to greet me. In prison I studied Hebrew, Arabic and mathematics. I want to quit school because I am finding it hard.