|Date:||1 September 2021|
|Location:||Bethlehem, West Bank|
|Accusation:||Throwing Molotov cocktail/pipe bombs|
On 1 September 2021, a 14-year-old minor from Bethlehem was arrested by Israeli soldiers from home at 3:30 a.m. He reports being interrogated several times without first being informed of his full legal rights prior to each interrogation.
Israeli soldiers broke open our front door with a metal tool at around 3:30 a.m. I was still awake because I had just got home from a party. Lots of soldiers entered our home and almost immediately dragged me aside. I hardly had time to put my clothes on. They pushed me against a wall and pushed my father because he stood in their way. One of the soldiers asked me for my name and aimed his gun at my mother and younger brother.
Once they identified me they tied my hands behind my back with two plastic ties on top of each other. The ties were tight and painful and constricted blood flow in my wrists. They remained inside our house for about 15 minutes. They gave my father a document with details about my arrest filled out in Hebrew and made him sign it. Then they swore at me, my mother and sister.
After 15 minutes they took me outside where they pushed me into the back of a military jeep and made me sit on a metal seat. Inside the jeep I was blindfolded, pushed and struck with the back of a gun.
Then the jeep drove to Atarot police station in East Jerusalem where I was left in an outdoor cage, in the sun, until around noon before being taken for interrogation. During this time, I was given some food and drink and I was allowed to use a toilet. Then a soldier removed the blindfold and shackled me and took me to an interrogation room.
The interrogator was wearing civilian clothes and had a camera and a voice recorder in the room. He phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me not to give the interrogator a hard time and advised me to confess in order to be sent home. We spoke for about two minutes and the interrogator was listening to the conversation on speaker phone. Then the interrogator told me all I was allowed to do was answer his questions. He did not inform me of my right to silence.
The interrogator he accused me of throwing a Molotov cocktail and pipe bombs at a road tunnel used by settlers. I denied the accusation. Then he showed me some photographs and video footage and told me soldiers had testified against me. He was rough and spoke with a loud aggressive voice. He threatened to arrest my father if I did not confess and told me my friends had confessed against me. I continued to deny the accusation. He questioned me in three sessions over about four hours in all.
At the end of the interrogation I was told to sign a large number of documents written in Hebrew. At first, I refused to sign and asked for a translation. When he refused to provide a translation, I signed because I wanted the process to end.
After the interrogation I was taken to Ofer prison. I arrived there at around 10:00 p.m. I was strip searched before being taken to the quarantine section where I spent 14 days.
About 10 days later I was handcuffed to the front and taken for a second interrogation. I did not speak with a lawyer prior to the interrogation and the interrogator did not inform me of my right to silence. He had a camera and a voice recorder in the room. He warned me against lying and told me he had photographic evidence against me. He accused me of the same accusations and told me if I confessed he would send me home. He was calm and questioned me for about 30 minutes. At the end he asked me to sign a document written in Hebrew and I signed.
After the interrogation I was taken back to the quarantine section. On the way back, a soldier offered me an alcoholic drink but I refused to take it. Then he showed me video footage of a stone throwing incident and told me I was going to prison while he was going to the shopping Mall.
My first military court hearing was two days after my arrest. It was conducted on zoom. My parents did not attend because they were not informed about the hearing. I had about 10 hearings in all. About two months before I was released I was sentenced in a plea bargain to six months in prison and fined NIS 2,000. I was also given another 14 months in prison suspended for five years. My parents also had to pay a NIS 10,000 bond payable if I am arrested again within five years. I accepted the offer because I thought it was better than the 18 months in prison the prosecutor was asking for.
I spent 14 days at the quarantine section before being taken to section 13 at Ofer where I served the remaining time. In prison I passed the time cooking in the kitchen. I made ice cream from sour cream and juice. I had a family visit on average once a month and I called home from a phone provided by the prison authorities once every 14 days. I also attended classes in Arabic, Hebrew and mathematics and I played table tennis.
I was released at Ofer on 8 February 2022 and I went home with my brother and his friends. I arrived home at round 10:00 p.m.