|Date:||25 June 2019|
|Location:||Azzun, West Bank|
On 25 June 2019, a 14-year-old minor from Azzun was arrested by Israeli soldiers in the afternoon while working on his family’s land close to the settlement of Ma’aleh Shomron. He reports being severely beaten.
I was on a piece of land which my family owns located near the settlement of Ma’aleh Shomron. It was late afternoon when an Israeli military jeep approached and five soldiers got out and started running towards me. I did not make much of it and did not run away as I thought they were chasing someone else.
When the soldiers came to where I was one soldier started to beat me without warning on my back and legs with his gun. The other soldiers joined in kicking and beating me. Then they dragged me on the ground and I was in severe pain.
Then the soldiers blindfolded me and tied my hands behind my back with three plastic ties: one on each wrist and another connecting the two. The ties were very tight and painful and left marks on my wrists for weeks. Then I was taken to the back of the military jeep and thrown on the metal floor. They continued to beat and kick me in the back of the jeep. Then I passed out and when I woke up I found myself in a room someplace I did not know, maybe Huwwara or Ariel settlement.
I was searched in my underwear. It was dark but I could not tell what time it was. Then, maybe around midnight, I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator removed the blindfold. He greeted me and told me to sit down. He wore a police uniform. I told him I did not do anything wrong. He yelled at me and was about to slap me. Then he phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me not to be scared and that I would go home in the morning. The interrogator was not listening to the conversation which lasted less than a minute.
Then the interrogator told me something about remaining silent but I did not understand what he meant and he gave me a document with the same information. Then he accused me of throwing stones at the soldiers and told me I had to confess. When I told the interrogator I did not throw stones at anyone he slapped me and raised his voice at me. He showed me some photographs of boys throwing stones and I told him it was not me. He questioned me for about two hours and the whole time he just wanted me to confess. Then he showed me documents written in Hebrew and asked me to sign them. I signed without understanding what was written.
Then I was taken to a small room with a little window. I was searched in my underwear. There was a toilet in the room. I could not sleep at all; I was worried about my family who I thought would be wondering what had happened to me.
Later that morning I was taken to Megiddo prison inside Israel. I was examined by a doctor who saw I was limping and in severe pain but he did not say or do anything. Then I was searched with my clothes on. Then I was taken to the minor’s section at Megiddo.
The following day I was taken to Salem military court. My parents were not there because they were not informed of the hearing. The interpreter asked me what I had done and how. I denied having done anything wrong. The hearing was adjourned.
I had four more military court hearings which my parents attended. My father told the military judge I was beaten badly on my hip and the judge asked me whether I was limping before I was arrested. I told him the limp and pain was because the soldiers beat and dragged me when they arrested me.
At the last hearing I was told I was going to be sent home. This was on 25 August 2019. I was sentenced in a plea bargain to two months in prison; fined NIS 2,000; and given a suspended sentence valid for two years. My father told the judge he could not pay the fine. I accepted the plea bargain because it meant being released the same day. I arrived home with my father at around 11:00 p.m.
In prison I missed my family very much, especially my mother. Since my release my father has not allowed me to go to our land. Before my arrest I was in seventh grade and I was a good student but I dropped out after my release because I could not walk to school, because of the severe pain I have in my left hip. I have had two surgeries so far and an American doctor was supposed to arrive in the country and operate on me but his trip was cancelled because of the Corona Virus.
This testimony was produced with the financial support of the German Federal Foreign Office. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Military Court Watch.