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Testimony: S.M.A.J.


Name: S.M.A.J.
Age: 14
Date: 19 November 2019
Location: Al' Arrub, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones

On 19 November 2019, a 14-year-old minor from Al’ Arrub refugee camp was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 3:30 a.m. He reports briefly speaking to a lawyer via phone prior to interrogation and being shown a document about his right to silence. 

I woke up when I heard loud banging at our front door. It was around 3:30 a.m. Shortly afterwards Israeli soldiers broke open our door using a jack and entered our home. The soldiers asked my father for his children and took his identity card. When the commander saw my name registered in my father’s identity card and told my father he wanted to arrest me to ask me some questions.
The soldiers then searched my wardrobe and took a T-shirt out and a pair of trousers and told me to put them on.  The commander then sat me down in the living room and asked where I was the previous Wednesday.
The commander gave my father a document with details about my arrest and then I was taken outside where my hands were tied behind my back with three plastic ties: one on each wrist and another connecting the two. They were painful because the soldier tightened them very hard. I was also blindfolded before being led to the military watchtower at the entrance to our refugee camp.
When we arrived at the watchtower I was made me sit on the ground. Then I was taken inside the watchtower where I was examined by a doctor. The doctor asked me to sign a document but I refused. Then I was taken outside where I was left for about 30 minutes. 
After about 30 minutes I was put in a troop carrier where I sat on the metal floor. I was taken to the police station in Etzion settlement. On the way the soldiers swore at me.
On arrival at Etzion I was left in an open air area for about three hours while still tied and blindfolded. Then I was taken to a shipping container where I waited for about 30 minutes. Then I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator told me I was suspected of throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at soldiers. I told him to remove the ties and the blindfold in order for me to answer. He removed the blindfold and told me to remove the ties by myself. Then he called a lawyer and told me to speak to him. The lawyer told me to deny everything even if the interrogator shows me photographic evidence. He told me not to take it seriously if he threatens me. He also told me I had the right to remain silent. The conversation lasted for about 30 seconds. 
Then the interrogator showed me a document which said something about remaining silent during the interrogation and how it will affect the judge but I did not understand it. He wanted me to sign it but I refused to sign because it was written in both Hebrew and Arabic and I was not sure what the Hebrew said. Then he threatened to revoke my father’s work permit and told me he was going to lock me up in prison and humiliate me. 
Then he showed me some photos of boys during clashes. He then pointed to one of the boys and wanted to know what was in the hands of the boy whom he claimed was me. I told him it was not me. He did not like my answer and banged the table aggressively and pulled his gun and put it on the table in front of him and then put it back again. He did this several times. He accused me of throwing stones and wanted me to confess. I denied the accusation. I did not remain silent because the interrogator kept insisting on me to answer his questions. He kept saying “speak…speak”. 
The interrogation lasted for about two hours. After the interrogation I was taken to a cell where I was searched in my boxer shorts. I was left in the cell for about five hours. Then I was taken to Ofer prison where I was strip searched before being taken to section 13. 
Two days later, at around 8:00 a.m., I was taken to Ofer military court. My parents did not attend because no one informed them about the hearing. During the hearing the interpreter told me I was going to be released but I did not believe him. Then my lawyer told me the judge decided to release me without charge but he imposed a fine of NIS 500. I was released on the same day. My parents did not know I was going to be released and I took a taxi home and my father paid the driver when I arrived. I was released on 22 November 2019.
  This testimony was produced with the financial support of the German Federal Foreign Office. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Military Court Watch.