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Testimony: A.F.S.

 Name:  A.F.S.
 Age:  15 years
 Date of incident:  20 April 2015
 Location:  Husan, West Bank
 Accusation:  Throwing stones

On 20 April 2015, a 15-year-old youth is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2.30 a.m. and accused of throwing stones. He is released on bail on 21 May 2015. 

I was arrested from home at around 2.30 a.m. My father woke me up and told me Israeli soldiers were at the door asking for me. I quickly got up and got dressed and went to the front door. The soldiers were talking to my father telling him they were going to take me to Etzion for interrogation because I was accused of throwing stones. They gave my father a document with details about my arrest. The soldiers did not enter the house.
As soon as the soldiers took me outside the house they tied my hands to the front with one plastic tie and blind folded me. The tie was not painful. My father tried to convince the soldiers not to arrest me and promised he would accompany me to the police station in the morning. The soldiers responded by telling my father to shut up. My mother was crying the whole time.
I was then taken into the back of a jeep where I sat on a seat. The jeep drove towards the centre of the village to arrest more boys before heading off to the military base nearby. We arrived at the base at around 3.30 a.m. I was immediately put in a shipping container where I sat on a chair. The soldiers removed the blindfold and a doctor examined me. He gave me a form to fill out. When the doctor was done I was blindfolded again. I remained at the base until around 6.00 a.m. There were soldiers around the whole time and they were swearing at me. They cursed God and said bad things about my mother.
I was then put in the back of a jeep where I sat on a seat. The jeep drove for about 15 minutes and then stopped at the police station at Etzion settlement. At Etzion I was taken to a courtyard where I sat on a chair until around 7.30 a.m. when I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator wore civilian clothes and told me his name was Moshe. He did not inform me of my right to silence but he did ask me if I needed a lawyer. I didn’t realize the importance of the question and told the interrogator I didn’t know. The interrogator removed the blindfold, turned a tape recorder on and started to question me. I was with the interrogator by myself.
The interrogator told me I was accused of throwing stones at soldiers. I told him this was not true. He showed me pictures of boys from my village and asked me to confess against them. He also showed me a document and told me it was a testimony from a boy in detention who had testified against me. He named the boy but I told him I didn’t know him. The interrogator was very rude and swore at me. He told me I was a fucker son of a whore. He also said things like fuck your sister and fuck your mother. He did not show me pictures of myself. The interrogator lasted for about an hour.
I was scared because this is my first experience with an interrogator. I was scared of being alone with him in the room. At one point the interrogator told me I was going to die in prison if I didn’t confess to throwing one stone once at a soldier from a distance of 100 metres. He then printed out my statement in Hebrew and asked me to sign it. He asked me to read it and when I told him I didn’t speak Hebrew he laughed as if he was surprised. I signed the statement without understanding what it said. When the interrogation was over a lawyer from our village visited me while I was still in the interrogation room.
I was then photographed and fingerprinted. At this point I was allowed to use the bathroom and to drink some water. I was then taken into a prison cell at Etzion where the tie was removed. I was then taken to see two lawyers. I told the lawyers I was very hungry because I hadn’t eaten since I was arrested in the middle of the night. The lawyers talked to the soldiers who brought me some food. I slept in the cell until around 3.00 p.m.
Soldiers then shackled me and handcuffed me and took me to the back of a transporter where I sat on a seat. The vehicle drove for about one-and-a-half hours before it arrived at Ofer prison. At Ofer I was strip searched and taken to Section 13.
The following day I was taken to Ofer military court. A lawyer was there to defend me but my parents were not informed so they did not attend.
I had about seven court hearings. My parents attended most of them and I was allowed to speak to them across the court room. On the last hearing I was handed a charge sheet in Arabic. The court decided to release me on bail. My parents had to pay 6,000 shekels bail pending the court hearing. The lawyer asked for an additional 500 shekels just to pay the bail on our behalf. I was told that the next hearing was scheduled on 3 August 2015. I was released from Ofer on 21 May 2015, at around 5.30 p.m. I arrived home at 7.00 p.m.

This experience was very difficult for me. I could not comprehend the idea that I was behind bars. After my release I noticed I became less active and lost my energy. I lost my desire to go out and play with my friends as I used to.