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Testimony: M.M.O.Q.


Name:  M.M.O.Q.
Age:  14
Date:  10 April 2018
Location:  Azzun, West Bank
Accusation:  Throwing stones

On 10 April 2018, a 14-year-old boy from Azzun is arrested by Israeli soldiers on agricultural land belonging to his family at 4:00 p.m. He reports being interrogated about stone throwing without first being informed of his legal rights.

I was with my cousin on agricultural land belonging to my family at around 4:00 p.m. A short time earlier there had been some stone throwing on a nearby road. Suddenly 4 Israeli military jeeps approached us from all directions.  About 12 soldiers got out of the jeeps and approached me and my cousin. I was scared.
Without explanation one of the soldiers tied my hands behind my back with 2 plastic ties on top of each other. The ties were tight and painful. I asked the soldier to loosen the ties but he did not listen to me. He also blindfolded me and took me to the back of one of the jeeps and made me sit on a seat. 
Inside the jeep the soldier kept pushing my head down which caused me pain. I felt I could not breathe properly and felt very uncomfortable. When I tried to lift my head up to take a deep breath the soldier pushed my head down and banged my head. When I told one of the soldiers I had not done anything wrong he kicked me on my elbow and caused me a lot of pain which lasted for days. 
The jeep waited for a short while and I could hear my mother outside the jeep asking the soldiers to release me. The soldiers told my mother to go home. Then I heard my mother tell me not to worry and to be strong and brave.
The jeep drove to the nearby military base and I was left inside the jeep with my head bent down for about 4 hours. Then I was takena shipping container and a female military doctor examined me. She examined me while I was tied and blindfolded. 
After the medical exam I was taken to an office where I sat on a chair, tied and blindfolded. A group of soldiers walked in and made a lot of noise. I bent over a table and tried to sleep but a soldier banged a metal pipe on the table which startled me. I was shocked and did not sleep at all. I was left in the room until around 3:00 a.m. I was not given anything to eat but a soldier brought me a glass with something in it to drink but I refused to take it because I thought it might be alcohol as the soldiers behaved as if they were drunk.
At around 3:00 a.m. I was taken to a shipping container and 2 soldiers came. One of them removed the blindfold and asked me to tell him what I had done and claimed he wanted to help me. He did not inform me of any rights. I told him I did not do anything. Then he told me if I told him everything I would be sent home. He told me not to lie and to tell him everything and he was there to help me. Then he accused me of throwing stones and told me my cousin who was arrested with me had confessed against me. When I told him this could not be true he lost his temper and shouted at me.
Then one of the soldiers told me our house would be demolished if I did not confess and that my family would be displaced and would be forced to live next to a rubbish tip. He threatened to drag my grandmother into the police station and to close down my uncle’s shop if I did not confess. I was so scared that I confessed to throwing 6 stones on the main road. I did not want any problems between my family and my uncle’s family if his shop was closed down and he lost his livelihood. When I confessed the soldier went out. Then he came back and told me I was going to be released and I believed him.
A short time later the soldier returned with an overweight policeman. The policeman asked me for my name and where I was from. He asked me whether I was going to throw stones ever again and I said never again. Then I was taken to a jeep and I thought I was going to be released but instead I was taken to the police station in Ariel settlement where I was interrogated by someone called Marwan.
Marwan turned a voice recorder on and asked me whether I had confessed to throwing 6 stones and I said yes. He was accompanied by the soldier who questioned me earlier. He then accused me of hitting a vehicle and smashing the nose of a passenger. Then he told me he was going to call a lawyer for me. He called a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me not to worry. He also told me to remain silent but I did not understand what he meant. The interrogator did not say anything about the right to silence. 
Then he gave me documents in Hebrew and asked me to sign them and I did. Then I was taken to Salem military court. 
A lawyer was in the military court but my parents did not attend because they were not informed of the hearing. The hearing was adjourned and I was taken to Megiddo prison inside Israel. At Megiddo I was searched with my clothes on and then I was taken to Section 4.
I had about 7 military court hearings and at the last one I was sentenced in a plea bargain to 4 months in prison and fined 2,000 shekels. I was also given a suspended sentence of 7 months in prison suspended for 2 years.
I spent my prison sentence at Megiddo where I attended classes and I was the best amongst all the other prisoners. The teacher gave me a certificate acknowledging my achievement. My mother was very pleased when she saw the certificate. My parents visited me 4 times in prison. 
I was released on 26 July 2018 at Al Jalama checkpoint and I went home with my father. I arrived home at around 7:00 p.m. My parents organised a small party for me and my mother cooked a nice meal. We stayed up late and I told everyone about my experience in prison.