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Testimony: Y.I.R.H.


Name:  Y.I.R.H.
Age:  16
Date:  31 October 2018
Location:  Azzun, West Bank
Accusation:  Throwing stones

On 31 October 2018, a 16-year-old youth from Azzun is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2.30 a.m. He reports being subjected to physical violence before being informed of his right to silence and speaking to a lawyer by phone. 

I was sleeping at the workshop where I work together with my friend when a torch shining in my face woke me up. It was around 2:30 a.m., just 30 minutes after I had fallen asleep. I did not know what was going on. Then an Israeli soldier poked me with the back of his gun and told me to get up. He then pushed me to the floor and dragged me outside where he handcuffed me with my hands behind my back. The handcuffs were painful.
Once outside about five soldiers surrounded me and started to beat me all over my body. Then they led me towards some military jeeps where they blindfolded me and continued to beat me. It was a cold night and I was shivering; I was cold and shaken because I had very little sleep. 
A soldier lifted me up by the handcuffs and threw me on the metal floor of one of the jeeps. He kept lifting the handcuffs until my head nearly touched the floor.  Then the jeep drove to the nearby settlement of Zufin. When we arrived I was in a terrible condition.
At the settlement the soldiers removed the blindfold and the handcuffs and I was examined by a doctor. I told the doctor I was not feeling well. Then I was tied to the front with three plastic ties: one on each wrist and another connecting the two. The ties were very painful and left a mark on my wrists. Then I was taken to a room where I sat on the floor. A soldier tied my legs with six plastic ties from the ankles to the knees in three locations and I could not move. I was so tired that I fell asleep on the concrete floor. 
At around 7:00 a.m. I woke up and asked to use the toilet and to drink some water but a soldier told me to wait. I went back to sleep. At around 10:00 a.m. a soldier woke me up and told me to walk but I could not walk because my legs were tied together so I started to hop. I fell to the ground and the soldier kicked me. 
The soldier took me to a larger room where I was left with two other soldiers. I fell asleep on the floor for about three hours. At around 1:30 p.m. a soldier cut off the ties around my legs and I was taken in a jeep to the settlement of Qarne Shomron. The jeep picked up some soldiers and then drove to the settlement of Qedumim where I waited in a corridor for about 30 minutes and then I was taken for interrogation.
I told the interrogator I was very thirsty and  I needed a toilet. He cut off the ties and gave me some water and told me to wait until after the interrogation to go to the toilet. Then he showed me a document informing me of my right to silence. It had a warning that remaining silent could be used against me. Then the interrogator called my father and allowed me to speak to him. I told my father I was fine and did not tell him I was beaten; I did not want him to worry. Then the interrogator phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me not to be afraid and not to confess. 
Then the interrogator showed me a photograph and claimed it was me throwing stones during clashes with soldiers. I did not think it was a good idea to remain silent because I thought remaining silent would imply I agreed with the interrogator. I told him this was an old photograph and I had already spent time in prison based on that photograph. Then he accused me of throwing stones and showed me a video of boys throwing stones at soldiers.
Then he told me he wanted to play a game with me. He told me the rules were that each time I gave him an unsatisfactory answer he would rip off my shirt. He then asked me about the photograph and when I said it was an old photo he slit my shirt with scissors. He repeated the same thing again and again until my shirt was all torn and I was left with my undershirt on. Then he brought in two soldiers and asked them whether the person in the photo was me and they said it was but I denied it was me. The interrogator then told me he was going to take it to a lab to determine whether it was me or not.  By that time I was feeling very sick. I asked for some water and he gave me some and allowed me to use the toilet.
After the interrogation I was tied and blindfolded and taken in a jeep to Huwwara military base. On the way I had difficulty breathing and I felt I was suffocating. All the windows in the jeep were closed and there wasn’t enough fresh air. Then the jeep turned around and went back to Qedumim and then it drove back to Huwwara. This took about one-and-a-half hours and I felt I was really suffocating and could not take it any longer. 
At the entrance to Huwwara I was taken out of the jeep and I fell to the ground immediately. A soldier asked me for my name and kicked me in the chest. I passed out. The next thing I knew was that I was in a hospital bed with my arms tied to the bed. I asked a nurse to tell me where I was and she told me I was in a hospital in Petah Tikva, in Israel.
I slept until 8:00 a.m. and then I wanted to use the toilet but the soldiers who were guarding me told me I was not allowed to leave my bed. Then the nurse brought me a pan but I refused to use it and insisted on going to the toilet. In the end they allowed me. 
A lawyer visited me and asked me how I was. Then two people in civilian clothes came by and swore at me and called me “a son of a whore”. I had an argument with them and told them to shut up. One of them slapped me.
I spent one night at the hospital. On Friday I was taken to Megiddo prison inside Israel where I was searched in my underwear before being taken to the juvenile section. 
On Sunday I was taken to a military court. My parents were there and the military judge extended my detention and the hearing was adjourned.  I had about five military court hearings. 
At the last hearing the military judge asked me what I wanted to do when I am released and I told him I wanted to study. I was sentenced in a plea bargain to three months in prison and a fine of 2,000 shekels. I was also given a suspended sentence of six months in prison valid for five years. I accepted the plea bargain because the prosecutor wanted to sentence me to seven months in prison.
I was released on 16 January 2019, about two weeks early because of good conduct. My parents were waiting for me at Al Jalama checkpoint and I went home with them. We arrived home at around 9:00 p.m. 
I spent my entire sentence at Megiddo prison where I attended classes. My parents visited me only once, just nine days before I was released because it took a long time for their permit to be issued.