|Date of incident:||19 March 2014|
|Location:||Deir Nidham, West Bank|
On 19 March 2014, a 16-year-old boy from Deir Nidham village, in the West Bank, is arrested by Israeli soldiers and accused of throwing stones. He is released 10 hours later without charge.
“It was the half-term holiday and two of my friends and I went for a long walk around the village at around noon on 19 March 2014. We wanted to enjoy the spring weather and to take some pictures together. When we got to the main road by the natural spring in the valley a blue settler car went by. The settler sitting in the front passenger seat stuck his head out of the window and pointed a gun at us. We were terrified and in complete shock as we did nothing to provoke the settler. I have no idea what went on in his mind."
"We turned and started walking back to the village. When we got to the entrance to our village we were stopped by a group of Israeli soldiers. I think the guard of the settlement was also there. They ordered us to stand aside and didn’t allow us to continue. Minutes later an army jeep and a troop carrier arrived at the scene. There were no clashes at the time and no one was throwing stones.”
“The commander started to question us. He started by accusing us of throwing stones at the settler car. We denied the accusation and told him we didn’t throw any stones at anyone. Then he ordered us one by one into the jeep for more interrogation. When it was my turn to be interrogated the commander started by accusing me of throwing stones at the settler. At first he was calm and polite and urged me to tell him everything. When I asked what he wanted me to tell him he said he wanted me to say I threw stones at the settler car. He then wanted to know why my friends and I were in the area. I explained to him we lived in the village and were just enjoying a walk in the valley and taking pictures of each other. He didn’t believe me and accused us of laying an ambush for the settler. He claimed the settler had told him we threw stones at him. He also claimed that he had photographs of us throwing stones. I challenged him and told him to bring the settler and to show us the photographs. He told me it wasn’t my business to see the photographs."
"He then started to shout at me and threatened to arrest me in the middle of the night if I didn’t confess. He told me I had two choices: either I tell him I threw stones at the settler car or face imprisonment. I told the commander that he must have lost his mind to think that someone would throw stones at settlers and walk back home on the main road. He got very upset because I implied he was stupid. He told me that what I had just said was enough to incriminate me. He then pulled out a tape recorder from his pocked and played back my voice.”
“The interrogation inside the jeep lasted for about 20 minutes. The commander then called one of my friends and asked to have a look at the pictures on his iPhone. All the pictures were of us. Then they put me and my friends in the troop carrier and took us to the Israeli military watchtower at the entrance to the nearby Palestinian village of An Nabi Saleh. There they blindfolded me and tied my hands behind my back with one plastic tie. The tie got tighter and painful as I moved my wrists. They made me sit on a rock outside the watchtower. The soldiers kept going back and forth into the watchtower because there were clashes in An Nabi Saleh and other soldiers were firing tear gas. The soldiers near the watchtower went inside each time there was the smell of tear gas.”
“Then I was interrogated again by another interrogator inside the watch tower. I was still blindfolded. He tied me to a chair with a rope. He cocked his gun and made other terrifying sounds with metal chains and an electric taser. I could see the electric sparks from under my blindfold. I wasn’t that scared when he cocked his gun because I knew he wasn’t going to shoot me, but I was very scared when I saw the sparks and heard the taser and the metal chains. He didn’t tell me I had the right to silence and the right to see a lawyer.”
At one point the interrogator stood up and put his hand on my shoulder and greeted me. When I greeted him back he shouted at me and told me to shut up. Then he asked me if I threw stones but I didn’t answer his question. I was scared. He shouted at me again and told me to answer his question because he was talking to me. I told him I didn’t throw stones. He then pinched my chest and hit me hard on my neck. The interrogation lasted for about 30 minutes during which time he kept coming and going. They allowed me to use the bathroom but kept me blindfolded. The soldier who took me told me there were steps ahead but he was lying to me. He just wanted to have fun.”
“I was then taken outside the watchtower where I stayed in the cold for about five hours. I wasn’t given any food or drink. I was released at around 10:30 p.m. without any further proceedings. I wasn’t shown any documents to sign and I didn’t speak to a lawyer. When I got home my father told me that when he went to look for me at the watch tower he was told I had been taken to Halamish settlement. When he went to Halamish he was told I was taken to Binyamin settlement. They kept sending him from one place to another and didn’t give him accurate information. He also told me people from the village went looking for us in the fields, thinking we may have been abandoned there. This experience has made me scared of soldiers. When I see soldiers around I go in the opposite direction.”