Testimony - Q.Z.
|Date of incident:||22 April 2013|
|Location:||Halhul, West Bank|
On 22 April 2013, a 14-year-old boy from the village of Halhul, near Hebron, is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:15 a.m. and accused of throwing stones.
“I was asleep when I woke to the sound of loud banging at the front door. I was startled for a few seconds and couldn’t figure out what was going on. It was around 2:15 a.m. At the time I was sick with the flue and a stomach bug. I heard my mother say 'who is it, who is it?’ and a voice outside replied 'open the door, this is the army’. My father told me to stay in bed as he went to open the door. A soldier asked my father for the names of his children and when he said my name the soldier asked where I was. Almost immediately three soldiers stormed into my bedroom and kicked me whilst I was still in bed. My mother was watching. I was forced out of bed but was not allowed to change out of my pajamas. They said they were taking me away, but did not tell me where or why. I asked to use the toilet but they said no.”
“I was taken out of the house where there were more soldiers. Somebody slapped me in the face and kicked me. It hurt a lot. I was pushed up against a wall and scraped my shoulder. I was then blindfolded and my hands were tied behind my back with three plastic ties that were tight and painful. I was then pushed into the back of a military vehicle and made to sit on the metal floor. Somebody said my mother and sisters were whores. I was also slapped and kicked whilst on the floor of the vehicle.”
Q.Z. was taken to the nearby Israeli settlement of Gush Etzion where he was made to stand outside for about one hour, still tied and blindfolded. “I felt very sick and needed the bathroom. I asked to use the bathroom but the soldier said no. I was then taken to a room and made to sit in a chair. Somebody turned the air conditioner on, even though it was cold. I was still blindfolded and tied. I was very tired. When I bent my head down to relax I was slapped. I was kept in this room until around 8:00 a.m. and was then asked a few questions about my health.”
Q.Z. was then taken to see an interrogator. He was not given an opportunity to speak with a lawyer first or to see his parents. “I stood in a room and the interrogator started asking me questions whilst I was still tied and blindfolded. He was rude about my mother and sisters. Some other people came into the room and kicked me. I think one of them had a small length of hose pipe which he whipped me with. He was also abusive towards my mother and sisters. At this stage I still did not know why I had been arrested. The interrogator then asked me whether I had thrown stones, and when I said no, he accused me of lying. He then pushed me to the ground. I asked him to remove the blindfold and he did and said: 'do you see me now?’ before replacing it. The interrogator then said that he was older than my father and it was inappropriate for me to lie to him. He then said he would arrest my father and beat him in front of me. I was very scared. He then threatened to electrocute me if I did not confess. I asked him what he wanted me to confess to and he said throwing stones. I asked him how I could confess to something I did not do and he grabbed me by the arm as if he was taking me somewhere. He then lifted my blindfold and showed me a machine with electric cables and said 'do you want me to electrocute you?’ I was terrified and confessed to throwing one stone.”
“The interrogator then took me to another room and somebody else wrote down my confession. My hand ties and blindfold were removed. He then asked me to sign something written in Hebrew which I did. Later on when I appeared in the military court the charge sheet was different from my confession. I was later charged with throwing stones at a settler car and causing injury to a settler and her children.”
“At around 10:30 a.m. I was placed in a vehicle and taken to Ofer prison, near Ramallah. We arrived at around 8:00 p.m. I was not given anything to eat or drink and my hands and feet were shackled for the entire time. The following morning I was taken to Ofer military court where I saw my lawyer for the first time. I went back to court about five times before being released on NIS 3,500 bail on 8 May. On 26 May the court ordered that the amount my father paid in bail be converted into a fine. Whilst I was in Ofer prison I missed some school exams and my school averages have fallen.”