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Home » Children »

Testimony: S.U.M.T.

 

Name: S.U.M.T.
Age: 16
Date: 6 February 2022
Location: Beit Fajjar, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing Molotov cocktails
 
On 6 February 2022, a 16-year-old minor from Beit Fajjar was arrested by Israeli soldiers from home 2:30 a.m. He reports being interrogated without first being informed of his right to silence or his right to consult with a lawyer.
 
I was home alone when Israeli soldiers raided our home at around 2:30 a.m. My parents were at the hospital taking care of my cousin. I heard a knock at the front door and before I could open it the soldiers had broken the front door and entered. I was still in bed. 
 
Many soldiers entered out house with more outside. One of the soldiers told me I was under arrest and asked me where I had hidden the weapons. I told him I had no weapons. Then they searched our house and turned it into a mess without finding anything. 
 
Then they took me into the front porch where a soldier tied my hands behind my back with five plastic ties: two on each wrist and another connecting them in the middle. The ties were very tight and painful and my hands turned blue. I was also blindfolded.  Then the soldiers led me through the neighbourhood for about 30 minutes to a troop carrier where I sat on the metal floor. A soldier beat me with the back of his gun on my leg and back which hurt. 
 
I was taken into a nearby military base where I was left in a room together with other boys. At around 8:00 a.m. a soldier removed the ties and the blindfold and took me to an interrogation room. 
 
The interrogator wore civilian clothes. Without informing me of any rights, the interrogator accused me of weapons possession and throwing pipe bombs. I denied the accusation. Then he told me he had video footage of the incident and showed me the video. I continued to deny the accusation. Then he told me my friends had confessed against me. At that point I felt I had to confess.
 
About half way through the interrogation, and before I confessed, the interrogator phoned a lawyer for me. The lawyer told me not to worry and, god willing, he was going to help me. I asked him about my family because they were not home when I was arrested and he told me they were fine. The interrogator was listening to the conversation which lasted about three minutes. I was questioned for about one-and-a-half hours and towards the end I confessed to throwing a Molotov cocktail at the security camera outside the settlement of Migdal Oz. The interrogator did not ask me to sign any documents.
 
I later found out that the area commander had called my father on the day when I was arrested and threatened to arrest him and summoned him to his office. My father went. The commander told my father he was going to put me under administrative detention.
 
After the interrogation I was taken to a cell at the police station in Etzion settlement with the other boys implicated in the same incident. I spent 11 days there. During this time, I had my first military court hearing on 8 February 2022. It was conducted on zoom but my parents did not attend because they were not informed. My detention was extended.
 
I had six military court hearings. At the last one, which was on 1 June 2022, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to 10 months in prison and fined NIS 2,000. I wa also given another 10 months in prison suspended for three years. I accepted the bargain because I was told I was otherwise facing 20 months in prison.
 
After spending 11 days in the cell at Etzion I was transferred to Ofer prison where I was strip searched before being taken to the minors’ section. I spent the rest of my sentence at Ofer. My family visited me three times and I passed the time exercising and studying Arabic and Mathematics. I did not attend Hebrew classes because I found it difficult.
 
I was given early release on 5 August 2022. I went home with my father, my mother, my uncle and aunt. I arrived home at around 7:00 p.m.