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Home » Children »

Testimony: J.J.J.J.

 

Name: J.J.J.J.
Age: 17
Date: 3 September 2019
Location: Allar, West Bank
Accusation: Planning an attack
 
On 3 September 2019, a 17-year-old minor from Allar was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:00 a.m. He reports being held in solitary confinement for 12 days and not being informed of his legal rights prior to interrogation.
 
I was arrested by the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) and held without trial for three months. One day after my release from P.A. detention, Israeli soldiers blew off our front door at around 2:00 a.m. I woke up to the sound of the explosion. 
 
About 30 soldiers entered our home and spread out in all the rooms. The commander was yelling my name and when he saw me he ordered me to raise my hands up. Then he told me “no more messing around, you know why we are here”. Then he tied my hands to the front with two plastic ties on top of each other. The ties were not painful. Then I was blindfolded and taken outside. The soldiers did not give us any documents. 
 
The soldiers led me for about 100 meters to where the military jeeps were waiting. I was pushed into the back of a jeep and made me sit on the metal floor between the soldiers’ legs. 
 
The jeep drove to the settlement of Dotan where I was taken to a shipping container. I was examined by a doctor who removed the blindfold during the examination. I was left in the shipping container until around 10:00 a.m. Then I was taken to Al Jalama interrogation centre, inside Israel, where I waited in a cell for about two hours before being taken for interrogation.
 
The interrogator removed the ties and the blindfold. He then told me I was not allowed to speak in court. He told me my parents are allowed to attend the hearing and I was going to be taken to prison after the interrogation. He did not inform me of my rights and did not allow me to speak to a lawyer before the interrogation. He told me he wanted me to tell him what had happened if I did not want to be beaten. He told me not to lie or I would spend at least 10 years in prison. 
 
Then he accused me of planning a terrorist attack against Israeli citizens. He claimed that a relative of mine, whom they had arrested, had confessed against me. I denied the accusation. He questioned me for about four hours and was joined by another interrogator who played bad cop. He yelled and shouted at me when I denied the accusation. 
 
At the end of the interrogation the first interrogator allowed me to speak to a lawyer. The conversation was very short and not very useful. The lawyer told me to say what is suitable and to leave out what is not suitable to say. Then the interrogator wanted me to sign my statement in Hebrew. He translated it for me into Arabic and when I realised it was identical to what I had said I signed it.
 
After the interrogation I was taken to a military court and my detention was extended. Then I was taken to a cell which measured about 1 x 2 meters. It did not have any windows and the light was on all the time. There was a mattress on the floor and two blankets. It also had a sink and a toilet. I spent 12 days in the cell by myself and I went crazy. I thought of my family the whole time. During the 12 days I was taken for another interrogation. 
 
The second interrogator wanted to know whether indeed I had denied the accusation during the first interrogation. I told him I had. He did not inform me of my right to silence but allowed me to speak to the same lawyer at the end of the interrogation. After 12 days in the cell I was taken to Megiddo prison where I was strip searched before being taken to the minors’ section.
 
I had about 10 military court hearings and at the last one, which was on 22 October 2019, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to six months and one day in prison and a suspended sentence valid for 18 months. I accepted the plea bargain because I was desperate to go home. 
 
I spent two months at Megiddo prison and then I was transferred to the adult section in the Negev when I turned 18. I was released on 13 February 2020 at Al Thahiryia checkpoint and I went home with my brother and a friend of mine. I arrived home in the evening.