|Date:||1 October 2018|
|Location:||Nahhalin, West Bank|
On 1 October 2018, a 15-year-old youth from Nahhalin is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 3:00 a.m. He reports being interrogated without first being informed of his right to silence or consulting with a lawyer.
I was fast asleep when my mother woke me up and told me that Israeli soldiers were surrounding our home. It was around 3:00 a.m. Then I heard very loud banging on the back door.
My father tried to tell the soldiers the front door was on the other side and explain to them that we had furniture blocking the path to the back door. They did not respond and continued to bang and then they tried to break the door down. At that point my father moved the furniture and opened the back door because he did not want them to break it.
About 20 soldiers entered our home and lots more were outside. Most of the soldiers were wearing face masks.
The commander asked my father for the names of all his children. When my father named me the commander told my father he wanted to arrest me. He did not tell us why and did not give us any written documents but he told my younger brother who was crying that he would bring me back shortly.
The soldiers were tense and in a hurry but my mother managed to help me put my clothes on. They did not give me enough time to say goodbye. My mother tried to follow me outside to say goodbye but a soldier aimed his gun at her and told her to go back into the house and to shut the door behind her.
The soldiers took me outside where they tied my hands behind my back with one plastic tie which was painful and left marks on my wrists. When we got to the street a soldier blindfolded me and lifted me up and threw me into the back of a military jeep. I fell on a bag that was inside the jeep and I was in pain.
I sat on a metal box on the floor inside the jeep. A soldier hit me on the face and head and caused me pain. He pulled my head towards him and slapped me very hard. The jeep drove away and then stopped. I was taken out of the jeep and a soldier hit me with a rope on my face. Other soldiers made fun of me and I heard them laughing as they played loud Arabic music. Then I was taken to the back of the jeep and it drove me somewhere where I was taken inside and an interrogator took me for interrogation.
The interrogator removed the blindfold and told me I was at the police station in Etzion settlement. He did not inform me of my rights and immediately accused me of setting fire near the fence of the nearby settlement of Betar Illit. When I denied the accusation he lost his temper and accused me of wanting to drive him crazy. Then he blindfolded me again and told me he was going to bring in people who would scare the hell out of me but did not say who. He raised his voice at me as he spoke and repeated the accusation and wanted me to confess.
About half way through the interrogation he phoned a lawyer for me and allowed me to speak to him. The conversation with the lawyer was very short and the interrogator listened in. The lawyer told me not to be scared and not to confess to anything I did not do.
Then the interrogator continued to shout at me and accused me again of setting fire near the fence. He banged the table aggressively and threatened to bring my mother to the police station and commit a felony against her. He swore at my mother and sister and called them “whores”. He then told me he was going to tie me to a pole and I thought he meant he was going to kill me. I was scared and tired and in the end I confessed to throwing one stone which missed. I was under a lot of pressure to confess and I thought confessing to throwing a stone which missed would be less serious than being implicated in a fire near the fence.
After I confessed I was taken to see another interrogator who told me to repeat what I had told the first interrogator. He typed everything I said on his computer and then showed me documents written in Hebrew and told me I had to sign them. He gave me a reason but I did not understand what he said. I signed the documents because I did not want to argue with him.
Then they took my photograph and fingerprints. Then I was taken to a cell at Etzion where they removed the tie and I was searched in my underwear. They brought me some food but I could not eat it. I remained in the cell for about 5 hours. Then I was taken to Ofer prison where I was strip searched and taken to Section 13.
The following day I was taken to Ofer military court. My parents did not attend because they were not informed about the hearing. My detention was extended and the hearing was adjourned.
In all I had 8 military court hearings and at the last one I was sentenced in a plea bargain to 3 months in prison and fined 3,000 shekels. In addition I was given a suspended sentence of 4 months in prison valid for 3 years. My last hearing was on the day of my release so it did not make any sense to reject the plea bargain. I was also told the prosecutor had asked for 8 months in prison.
I spent the 3 months at Ofer prison where I attended classes. My parents did not visit me in prison because they were not issued a permit in time. I was released on 31 December 2018 and my parents arranged for a taxi to pick me up and I arrived home at around 3:00 a.m.