|Date:||13 January 2020|
|Location:||Beit Ummar, West Bank|
|Accusation:||Throwing stones/pipe bombs|
On 13 January 2020, a 17-year-old minor from Beit Ummar was arrested by Israeli soldiers 1:30 a.m. He reports being interrogated multiple times without always being informed of his legal rights and being held in solitary confinement for 17 days.
There was loud banging at our front door at around 1:30 a.m. I woke up and my father opened the door. About 20 soldiers entered our home. We were terrified to see such a large number of heavily armed soldiers inside our small house. My younger sister, who is three-years-old, could not stop crying. They searched our house and took out all our clothes and threw them on the floor. They did not tell us what they were looking for. Then the commander, who told us his name was Captain Omar, told meI was under arrest. He gave my mother a document filled out in Hebrew with some details about my arrest.
Then a soldier tied my hands behind my back with a single plastic tie which was tight and painful. He tied me while inside the house in front of my parents and siblings. When I complained that the tie was too painful the soldier replaced the plastic tie with metal handcuffs. These handcuffs were not painful.
The soldiers remained in our house for about 30 minutes and then they took me outside and walked me towards the nearby settlement of Karmi Zur. At the entrance to the settlement a soldier blindfolded me. I was taken to a shipping container where I was left for about four hours. Every time I fell asleep a soldier slapped me.
At around 6:00 a.m. I was taken to the back of a jeep where I sat on the metal floor between the soldiers’ feet. The jeep then drove me to the police station in Etzion settlement. At Etzion I was given a medical examination. The doctor removed the handcuffs and the blindfold during the examination. Then I was taken to a cell where I remained until around 2:30 p.m. and then I was transferred to Ashkelon detention centre, inside Israel, for interrogation.
As soon as I arrived at Ashkelon an interrogator introduced himself and then showed me a document written in both Arabic and Hebrew about my rights and obligations. I read that I had the right to contact a lawyer. I don’t remember reading anything about the right to silence. I was given about five minutes to read the document and then I was taken to a cell where I was left until around 6:00 p.m and then I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator told me I had the right to call a lawyer but he did not call one for me. He did not inform me of my right to silence. The interrogator was in civilian clothes. Then he asked me whether I had ever thrown pipe bombs and Molotov cocktails at soldiers. I told him I had not. When I denied the accusation he raised his voice at me and insisted I had to confess. I did not confess. This lasted for about two hours and then I was taken to a small cell which measured around 2x2 metres.
Two days later I was taken to a military court but nothing happened and the hearing was adjourned. It was in court that I saw a lawyer for the first time. I was then taken back to the cell.
I spent 17 days in that cell where the light was on 24 hours. I was not able to tell day from night and I could not sleep. I sometimes covered my head with the blanket in order to sleep. There was a small sink and a toilet and the walls were painted black. I was interrogated 15 times over the course of 17 days. Each interrogation session lasted for about two hours and the interrogator did not inform me of my rights and did not call a lawyer for me. He kept repeating the same accusation.
Towards the end of the 17 days I went crazy in the cell and I could not think straight. I started to doubt myself and say maybe I threw pipe bombs and Molotov cocktails without realizing. My behavior changed and I no longer knew what to say to the interrogator.
During this time I was taken to Ofer prison where I spent time with other prisoners. I was later told those prisoners were informers. Then I was taken back to Ashkelon. I suffered a lot during those 17 days and I could no longer take it. That was when I told the interrogator I threw pipe bombs at soldiers on Route 60. When I confessed he made me sign on a document written in both Hebrew and Arabic. I read it and then I signed it when I was sure it was identical to what I had said.
Then I was taken to Ofer prison where I was strip searched. I was asked to crouch up and down while naked which I found very embarrassing. Then I was taken to section 13. I had about seven or eight military court hearings and at the last one I was sentenced in a plea bargain to three-and-a-half months in prison and a fine of NIS 2,000. I was also given a suspended sentence of 10 months in prison valid for five years. I accepted the plea bargain because I was expecting a longer sentence and my lawyer advised me to accept it because it was not going to get any better for me.
I spent the whole time at Ofer prison. My parents visited me only once and then family visits were suspended because of the Corona Virus. No phones were provided by the prison. In prison I was worried about the school days I had missed. I want to sit for my final school exam. I studied Hebrew, Arabic and Mathematics in prison until classes were suspended due to the Corona virus. The classes I attended were not helpful.
I was released from Ofer on 27 April 2020.