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Testimony: N.S.M.R.


 Name:  N.S.M.R.
 Age:  16
 Date:  9 August 2017
 Location:  Azzun, West Bank
 Accusation:  Throwing stones

On 9 August 2017, a 16-year-old youth from Azzun is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:00 a.m. The family is only told that he is wanted for a “quick chat”. He is accused of throwing stones and sentenced to 7 months in prison by a military court following a plea bargain.

My father woke me up at around 2:00 a.m. and told me to get up and follow him to the living room because Israeli soldiers were in our home. I got up and went to the living room where I saw about 20 soldiers. Around half of the soldiers were wearing face masks. I was scared.
The commander told my father he wanted to take me for a “quick chat”. He did not explain more and did not give my family any written documents. Then the soldiers searched the house and turned things upside down and caused a lot of damage to the furniture. They broke the wardrobe in my parents’ bedroom and deliberately poured olive oil on our clothes. They spent about two hours inside our house.
The commander wanted to make sure I was the person he was looking for so he called a masked person into the house who was not a soldier and the person immediately nodded when he saw me. I think this person was a collaborator. Then they took photos of me with the shirt that my older brother was wearing.  
I was then led out of the house and my hands were tied behind my back with two plastic ties, one on top of the other. The ties were very tight and painful and left marks on my wrists for a long time. They also tied my legs with plastic ties and blindfolded me and then led me outside. I tumbled and fell down three times because I could not walk properly or see.
On the way I was slapped on the neck and beaten on the head. Then they took me to the back of a jeep where I sat on the metal floor.
The jeep drove for a few minutes and then I was taken out of the jeep and made to sit in front of a house for about an hour. Then I was led a short distance to a nearby taxi office where they made me sit on the ground. When I tried to remove the blindfold because it was bothering me I was slapped and beaten on my legs.
Later I was taken back to the jeep together with another detainee and the jeep took us to the nearby military base of Zufin.
I spent about five hours at Zufin. During this time I was examined by a doctor who removed the blindfold and the ties and put them back on later. I was not given any food or drink but I was allowed to use the toilet. Then I was taken to the settlement of Qedumim for interrogation. It was around 3:00 p.m.
The interrogator wore a police uniform. He turned a tape recorder on and called my parents and told them where I was. Then he gave me the name of a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him on the phone. The lawyer told me I had rights. He told me if the interrogator asks me questions and I don’t answer him it could be used against me as an admission. The interrogator gave me a document in Arabic about the right to silence and asked me to sign it and I did.
The interrogator accused me of throwing stones at soldiers on Route 60 from a distance of 50 meters. I denied the accusation. Then he showed me pictures of young men during clashes and told me I was among them but still I denied the accusation. Then he wanted me to give names of people shown in the pictures but I told him I did not know any of them. The interrogation lasted for about 30 minutes. The interrogator did not ask me to sign anything.
Then I was taken back to a jeep where I sat on a seat and the jeep drove to Huwwara military base. At Huwwara I was strip searched and taken to a cell where I slept. It was around 1:00 a.m. I was not given any food or drink until around 6:00am the following morning.
After breakfast, I was taken in a jeep to Salem military court. My parents were not there but my lawyer was and the hearing was adjourned. After court I was taken to Megiddo prison inside Israel where I was strip searched and taken to the juvenile section.
About a week later I was taken for another interrogation at the police station in Ariel settlement. The interrogator did not inform me of my rights and told me there was a new confession against me. He named a person and wanted to know if I knew him. At the end of the interrogation he showed me documents in Hebrew and asked me to sign them but I refused to sign.
I had numerous military court appearances. At the last hearing, which was on 19 September 2017, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to seven months in prison and fined 2,000 shekels. I was also given a suspended sentence of eight months in prison valid for three years. I accepted the plea bargain because I was told my sentence would be worse if I did not.
I spent my entire sentence in Megiddo prison and my mother and brother visited me six times. My father was denied a permit to visit me. During my time in prison a social worker interviewed me and wrote a report. On 26 December 2017, I had an additional hearing to decide whether I am entitled for early release. The judge rejected the request and I was very disappointed.