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Testimony: A.A.A.A.


Name: A.A.A.A.
Age: 16
Date: 29 March 2017
Location: Tuqu', West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones

On 29 March 2017 a 16-year-old youth from Tuqu' is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:00 a.m. He reports being physically assaulted and threatened and questioned without being informed of his legal rights. 

I was awake at around 2:00 a.m. following the news about our village on Facebook. People were posting messages saying that Israeli soldiers were in the village making arrests. Shortly afterwards I looked out the window and saw about 20 soldiers around our house. Then there was very loud banging at our front door.
My brother quickly went to answer the door and about 10 soldiers entered the house. Most of the soldiers were masked. At the time I was at home with my brother and aunt. The soldiers asked to see my brother’s identity card. Then the commander looked at me, took my identity card and told me to get ready because I was under arrest. They did not give us any written documents and did not tell us why they wanted to arrest me.
The soldiers took me outside before I was able to say goodbye to my family. Once outside a soldier searched me and then I was blindfolded and my hands were tied to the front with three plastic ties: one on each wrist and another connecting the two. The ties were not painful.  I was then taken to the back of a jeep and made to sit on a metal box on the floor which was very uncomfortable.
Inside the jeep a soldier accused me of throwing stones and verbally abused me swearing at my religion and god. The jeep drove a short distance to the nearby military base where a doctor examined me. He removed the blindfold and put it back on when he was finished.
Then I was taken to a troop carrier where I sat on the metal floor. The soldiers in the troop carrier kicked and swore at me and asked me why I threw stones at them. They told me there was no justification to throw stones at them because they liked Arabs.
The troop carrier drove to a nearby settlement where I was put in a shipping container until around 6:30 a.m. Then I was taken in a vehicle to the police station in Etzion settlement where I was taken to a shipping container. I waited in the shipping container until around 7:00 a.m. I was not given any food or drink and I was not allowed to use the toilet. At around 7:00 a.m. I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator removed the ties and replaced them behind my back. He kept me blindfolded and made me kneel. He immediately asked me for names of boys who throw stones without informing me of any rights. When I told him I did not know any boys he kicked and slapped me while I was blindfolded which was a shock. Then I heard the sound of a taser against the metal wall of the container. He did this while shouting at me telling me to confess. I was terrified. This went on from around 7:00 a.m. until around noon. In the end I confessed to throwing one stone from a distance of 50 meters which missed.
After I confessed the interrogator phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me not to confess. When I told the lawyer I had already confessed he spoke to the interrogator but the interrogator denied he had interrogated me. When the lawyer hung up the interrogator was upset with me for telling the lawyer I had already confessed.
Then the interrogator gave me a document written in Hebrew and asked me to sign it but I refused and I asked him to translate it for me. He told me it was about my right to remain silent and my right to consult with a lawyer. Still I refused to sign it because it was too late.
Then the interrogator took me to see another interrogator who had a camera and a tape recorder in the room. The second interrogator did not inform me of my rights. He typed up a piece of paper which the first interrogator gave him. Then he asked me to repeat what I had told the first interrogator. I told him I had confessed to throwing one stone which missed. Then he showed me documents in Hebrew and asked me to sign them but I refused. I did not trust the document would be truthful to what I had said.
Then they took my fingerprints and photograph. Then I was left in a shipping container until around 3:00 p.m. when I was taken to Ofer prison.
The trip to Ofer took about four hours. The vehicle drove a few minutes then stopped for a long time. During this time I was still without anything to eat or drink. I pleaded with them to allow me to use the toilet and they finally did. When we arrived at Ofer I was strip searched and told to crouch up and down while naked. Then I was taken to Section 13.
The following day I was taken to Ofer military court. My family did not attend because they did not know I was in court and the case was adjourned. In all I had about 20 appearances in the military court.
In the end I was sentenced to six months in prison and fined 2,000 shekels. They told me if I did not pay the fine I would spend 8 months in prison. I was also given a suspended sentence of one year in prison valid for 5 years.
I spent my prison sentence at Ofer and my family visited me for the first time four months after my arrest because the permit took too long to be issued. In prison I studied Arabic and mathematics. I was released on 18 September 2017 and I went home with my family.
When soldiers come to our village now I stay home and watch through the window.