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Testimony: I.H.

Name: I.H.
Age: 16 years
Date of incident: 2 October 2013
Location: Al Fawwar, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones
On 2 October 2013, a 16-year-old boy from the Al Fawwar refugee camp, near Hebron, in the West Bank, is arrested by Israeli soldiers and accused of throwing stones.
“I was walking home from work with my cousin at 9:00 p.m. When we arrived near Al Fawwar we could see clashes were taking place between Israeli soldiers and youth from the camp. When we got to the roundabout opposite the camp, near Route 60, a military jeep stopped and three soldiers got out and ordered us to stop. Two more soldiers came from the military watchtower nearby. The soldiers took us towards the watchtower and made us sit on the ground. They asked us if we had been throwing stones. I told them we were walking home and were not throwing stones. One of the soldiers looked at our hands to see if there were traces of dust that might indicate we were throwing stones. The soldiers didn’t believe that we hadn’t been throwing stones and made us sit on the ground for about 15 minutes. One of the soldiers went into the watchtower and brought a camera and started checking pictures they had taken of boys throwing stones to see if it was us. They didn’t find any pictures of us because we were not throwing stones.”
“A short time later a white Toyota stopped. The Commander who was in the Toyota spoke with the soldiers. I heard them mention my name and I saw the Commander look at me. A soldier pulled me toward the jeep where he blindfolded me. He pushed me into the jeep and made me sit on the floor. They did not tie my hands. The jeep drove for about five minutes and then stopped. I heard the sound of a metal gate open which made me realise the jeep had entered a military base. The soldiers put me in a shipping container and made me sit on the floor with other detainees. I was still blindfolded. About 30 minutes later I asked to go to the bathroom and the soldier allowed me. He removed the blindfold.”
“When I came back from the bathroom I was taken by two soldiers to an interrogation room. I was made to sit on a chair in front of the interrogator. He was wearing civilian clothes and spoke very good Arabic. I was in the room with the interrogator by myself. He asked me what the problem was and I told him I was picked up by soldiers while walking home from work. He asked me for my name and my ID number. I told him I didn’t have an ID. He checked on a computer and started to name members of my family members in order to confirm my identity. Then he brought a tape recorder and put it on the table in front of him. I could not see a camera in the room.”
“The interrogator did not tell me I had the right to contact a lawyer and didn’t suggest that I contact my family. He didn’t tell me that I did not have to answer his questions. He was mainly interested in why I didn’t have an ID. An hour later two soldiers came to the interrogation room and took me to a jeep. They blindfolded me but did not tie my hands. The jeep drove away and the soldiers started to laugh while they listened to loud music. One of the soldiers asked me for my name. When I answered him the soldiers started to say my name loudly and made fun of me. One of the soldiers offered me a cigarette but I told him I didn’t smoke.”
“About 30 minutes later the jeep stopped and one of the soldiers said we were at Etzion settlement. I got out of the jeep and the soldiers removed the blindfold and took me for a medical checkup. The doctor asked me if I had any illnesses or suffered from any allergies. Then they took my fingerprints and my photo. Then I was taken to a prison cell in Etzion. A soldier gave me some blankets and took me into a small room where I was by myself. In the morning soldiers brought me some food and told me they were going to transfer me to Ofer prison. At 8:00 a.m. I was blindfolded, handcuffed and shackled with metal chains. The handcuffs were painful. The vehicle traveled for about an hour and we arrived at Ofer at around 9:00a.m.”
“At Ofer a soldier told me to take off all my clothes, including my underwear, for a security check. He asked me to turn around several times while naked and to crouch. Then he gave me prison clothes and took me to Section 13 where there were other children my age. I arrived at Ofer on 4 October. The following day I was told I had a hearing in the military court. I was taken to the waiting room where I remained from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. but I was never taken inside the courtroom and I never saw a lawyer or a judge. A policeman then took me back to prison. I asked him what happened to my hearing and he told me I was going to be released in four days. I wasn’t given any details or explanations. I was released on 9 October 2013. I had just enough money to pay for a taxi to take me home. I was very happy to be released.”