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Testimony: D.I.R.W.


Name: D.I.R.W.
Age: 12
Date of incident: 9 February 2016
Location: Halhul, West Bank
Accusation: Intention to stab
On 9 February 2016, a 12-year-old girl is arrested near the settlement of Karmi Zur and accused of intending to stab a soldier.
I was arrested near the settlement of Karmi Zur at around noon. I went home after school and when I didn’t find my mother home I thought she had gone to the land we own near the settlement so I went to look for her. As soon as I arrived near the settlement gate soldiers started to shout at me. They aimed their guns at me and threatened to shoot. They told me to stop and then ordered me to lie down on the ground which I did.
The soldiers then approached me, pushed my face to the ground and tied my hands behind my back with one plastic tie which was tight and very painful. They also kicked and slapped me hard. I remained in that position for about 15 minutes. I was then blindfolded and a commander asked me for my name and wanted to know what I was doing in the area. He then told me I was accused of attempting to stab a soldier. I told him this was not true and that I was looking for my mother.
Then they took me to the back of a jeep and made me sit on the floor. The jeep drove for a few minutes and then stopped at a military base which I didn’t recognize. They locked me up in a room and made me sit on the floor. A doctor came and removed the blindfold and asked me some questions about my health. He blindfolded me again when he was done.
A female soldier then replaced the hand tie with metal handcuffs. I begged her to hand cuff me to the front but she refused. The handcuffs were painful. She then took me to the back of a police car and made me sit on a seat. The car drove for about 30 minutes and then stopped somewhere I did not recognize. I was taken out of the car straight into an interrogation room.
The interrogation was an experience from hell. It lasted for a long time and I was exhausted. I had no idea what time it was but I felt it was late into the night. I was interrogated by more than one interrogator. I was not informed of any rights. They were all shouting and yelling at me and trying to scare me. They wanted to know who sent me to stab soldiers, and who gave me a knife. One of the interrogators told me if I didn’t confess he was going to lock me up in prison for a long time, maybe for life. He told me he would never allow me to see my family ever again. I was terrified and started to cry.
The interrogator wanted to know if I was a member of the Fateh or Hamas. I told him I had nothing to do with any party and that I had no intention to stab a soldier. I denied having a knife and told them they falsely put a knife on me.
Someone brought me some documents in Hebrew and asked me to sign them and I signed them because I was scared. Then they took my photograph and my fingerprints and took me into a room which had a bed. They removed the handcuffs and I remained in the room until the following morning. I was able to sleep a little bit.
In the morning they brought me some food. Just before noon a female soldier handcuffed me to the front and took me to the back of a troop carrier where I sat on a seat. The vehicle drove for about four hours before it stopped at Al Mascobiya interrogation centre in West Jerusalem. On the way they had the air conditioner on and I felt very cold. I was taken to a small cell which was filthy and had cockroaches crawling around. There was a bed in the room but I couldn’t sleep, I was too scared.
The following day I was taken to court. They made me wait from morning till the afternoon and I was never taken into the court room. I was told the hearing was adjourned and I was transferred to Hasharon prison inside Israel.
I had four hearings and my parents attended three of them and I was allowed to speak to them. On the last hearing I was sentenced to four-and-a-half months in prison and fined NIS 8,000. I also had a suspended sentence valid for five years.
I was released on 24 April at Jubara checkpoint in the north where my parents were waiting for me and they took me home. The prison experience was a very difficult one. I found it hard to eat and sleep and I had nightmares. In prison I studied Arabic and mathematics.