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Testimony: H.M.N.

 Name:  H.M.N.
 Age:  14
 Date of incident:  22 March 2015
 Location:  Burin, West Bank
 Accusation:  Throwing stones
On 22 March 2015, a 14-year-old youth from Burin is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 5.00 p.m. and accused of stealing a car. He is released without charge four days later.
I was arrested from home at around 5.00 p.m. I was sitting with my brothers inside the house when I suddenly saw a large group of Israeli soldiers surrounding the house. This was after they had chased a car and the driver got out and ran away. The soldiers entered the house and started to search it. I think the soldiers thought the driver was hiding in the house. Then the soldiers arrested me without any reason. One of the soldiers told me they were going to ask me some questions and then release me.
The soldiers took me outside the house and immediately tied my hands to the back with 3 plastic ties: one on each wrist and another connecting the two. The ties were very tight and painful. Then they made me stand facing the wall with lots of military vehicles surrounded me. The soldiers pushed me against the wall and told me I was a fucker. I remained in that position for about 15 minutes when my father came and tried to talk to the soldiers.
My father tried to understand the reason for my arrest and tried to approach me but the soldiers did not allow him. My father told them he would bring me to the military camp at Huwwara the following morning but they refused his offer. They pushed me into the back of a jeep where I sat on a seat. Inside the jeep the soldiers blindfolded me. The jeep drove for about 15 minutes and then stopped at Huwwara. I was taken out of the jeep and made to sit on the ground for about 5 hours. It was a very cold evening. I was shivering of cold and fear the whole time.
Then I was taken into a police car with two angry policemen inside the car. They made me sit in the back with my head between my legs. They did not allow me to lift my head up at all. They were shouting the whole time and created an atmosphere of terror. They swore at me and called me son of a whore. The jeep drove for about 30 minutes and then stopped at Ariel police station. I was immediately taken for interrogation.
Before starting to interrogate me the interrogator told me I had the right to remain silent and the right to consult with a lawyer. Then he called my father and told him I was accused of stealing a car. He also told him he could come to the police station to be at the interrogation. Then he called my father again and told him there was no need for him to attend the interrogation because I was capable of taking care of myself. Then he turned a tape recorder on and accused me of stealing a settler car. I told him this was not true. Then he wanted to know what I was doing that day until the time of my arrest. I told him I went to school in the morning and then went back home and took a nap and then played at home with my brothers. The interrogator told me I was a liar.
The interrogation lasted for about three hours. At a certain point another interrogator joined and they were both swearing and cursing. The interrogator printed out my statement in Hebrew and asked me to sign it. I signed it without understanding what it said. Then the interrogator told me he was going to take me into a room with snakes and scorpions. He took me into a medium-sized room but there were no snakes or scorpions. Soldiers brought me some food and I slept until 6.00 a.m. the following morning.
The following day I was fingerprinted and photographed. I was given prison uniforms and taken for a second round of interrogation. The interrogator accused me again of stealing a car. He interrogated me for about an hour and then took me back into the room. I was taken for two more rounds of interrogation on that day. Each time the interrogator would try to put pressure on me to confess. He told me he would release me if I confessed but if I didn’t he was going to lock me up in prison.
I spent another night at Ariel. The following morning soldiers shackled me and hand cuffed me to the front and took me into the back of a vehicle where I sat on a seat. The vehicle drove for about one-and-a-half hours before it stopped at Ofek prison inside Israel. At Ofek I was strip searched and taken into  a small cell about 2 X 2 metres where I stayed myself.
The following day I was taken to Salem military court. My parents were there and I was allowed to speak to them. There was no lawyer to represent me and my father explained to the judge that the lawyer didn’t want to appear in court when he found out that the case was not related to security. My father told the judge he wanted to defend me himself but the judge did not agree.
The judge asked a lawyer who happened to be in court to take my case. My father explained to the judge that the Palestinian police had arrested the real thief who stole the car. The Israel police who were in court made some contacts and verified that this was indeed the case. The judge ordered my immediate release but the police took me back to Ariel.

At Ariel the police called my father and told him to come and pick me up. I was released around 5.00 a.m. on 26 March 2015, and I arrived home with my father at around 6.30 a.m. They never gave me back my clothes.