Testimony - S.S.
|Date of incident:
||14 March 2013
||Haris, West Bank
A 15-year-old boy from the village of Haris, near the settlement of Ari’el in the West Bank, is arrested by Israeli soldiers and accused of throwing stones. He is held for six days without charge and detained inside Israel in violation of article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
“On Thursday, 14 March, I came home from school at around 12:30 p.m. as usual,” recalls S.S. “Soon after I got home I took out the rubbish and saw lots of soldiers opposite our house. I didn’t make much of it since this is not uncommon in our village. There were about four army jeeps parked in the street. One of the soldiers shouted 'bo, bo” at me in Hebrew. I was scared. I walked over to the soldier and he asked to see my hands. He looked at my hands, which were clean, and he then told me to line up with my brother and three cousins who were nearby. Without asking me for my name a soldier told us to follow him but did not say why. I felt that we had been randomly selected for no reason,” says S.S.
S.S., his brother and three cousins were led to waiting jeeps where S.S.’s hands were tied behind his back with a single plastic tie and he was blindfolded. The boys were then placed in two jeeps and driven for about one-and-a-half hours to a military base. On arrival at the base the boys were placed in separate rooms. Inside the room S.S. remained tied and blindfolded. “I was in pain because of the plastic tie. Although I wasn’t able to see I felt my wrists were bleeding, it was very painful. I complained to a soldier and about one hour later my tie was loosened,” says S.S. “I remained in the room until around 9:00 p.m. when I was brought food.”
After eating S.S. was placed in a military jeep with two other boys and taken to Ari’el settlement. “They made me and my cousin sit on the floor of the jeep and they cursed us on the way. A soldier said: 'fuck your mother, fuck your sister’”, recalls S.S. The boys were handed over to Israeli police inside Ari’el settlement and photographed and fingerprinted. They were then driven to Huwwara interrogation centre, near Nablus in the West Bank, where they slept the night. The boys were woken the next morning at 5:00 a.m.. After breakfast S.S. was handcuffed and taken to Megiddo prison, inside Israel, where he was given a brief medical check.
On Sunday, 17 March, at around 7:00 a.m., the boys were driven to Salem interrogation centre, in the West Bank. “During the trip the air-conditioner was turned on and it was very cold,” recalls S.S., who was interrogated on arrival at the centre. “The first interrogator asked me whether I threw stones. When I told him I didn’t throw stones he shouted at me and told me I was a liar. He asked me again but this time I didn’t say anything. Thirty minutes later the interrogator asked me to sign a paper which said in Arabic: 'Question: have you thrown stones? Answer: No,’ so I signed the paper. I later saw a lawyer who told me not to worry as there was no evidence against me and I would soon be released. Later that day I was taken to a military court in Salem and my case was adjourned until the following Wednesday. I was then taken back to Megiddo prison, inside Israel.”
“The following Wednesday I was driven back to the military court at 7:30 a.m. I was made to wait in a very cold room until noon. It was freezing,” recalls S.S. “Nobody from my family came to court. The judge ordered payment of 1,000 shekels ($280) as a bond. I was released later that day and my father told me that he had been waiting at Salem checkpoint all day but I was released at another location. In total I spent six nights in prison and missed my mid-term exams.”