|Date:||15 December 2018|
|Location:||Al Arrub, West Bank|
|Accusation:||Throwing Molotov cocktail|
On 15 December 2018, a 14-year-old boy from Al Arrub refugee camp is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:00 a.m. He reports speaking to a lawyer on the phone for 3 minutes before interrogation but not being informed of his right to silence.
My mother woke me up and told me that Israeli soldiers were at our front door. It was around 2:00 a.m. and I was terrified. I went downstairs where I saw 5 soldiers inside our home. More soldiers were on the street outside.
The commander said he was looking for me. He gave my father a document and asked him to sign it and he did. The commander told me he was going to take me to the police station in Etzion settlement for questioning but he did not say what it was about. The soldiers appeared to be in a hurry and only remained in our house for about 10 minutes.
As soon as I was dressed I was taken outside where a soldier blindfolded me and tied my hands to the front with 1 plastic tie. The tie was painful and left marks on my wrists. The soldiers then led me towards the military watchtower at the entrance to our refugee camp where I waited for about 15 minutes. During this time soldiers beat me on my back and called me “a son of a whore”.
After 15 minutes I was taken to the back of a jeep where they made me sit on the metal floor. The jeep drove to Etzion police station where I was taken to a room. I was left in the room for about 3 hours and I was not given any food or drink. The soldiers who were guarding me gave me a hard time before they allowed me to use the toilet; I had to beg them. They tried to scare and startle me by shouting in my face while I was blindfolded. I was able to sleep on the floor for about 30 minutes and then I was taken for interrogation. I think it was around 9:30 a.m.
The interrogator removed the tie and the blindfold and handed me his telephone to speak to a lawyer. The lawyer told me not to be scared of the interrogator because he was a human being like me. He also told me I had the right to remain silent during the interrogation. He told me even if they show me photographic evidence nothing would indict me except my own words. The interrogator left the room while I spoke to the lawyer. The conversation with the lawyer lasted about 3 minutes.
The interrogator came back into the room and without informing me of my other rights he accused me of throwing a Molotov cocktail on a settler bus traveling on Route 60, ten days before my arrest. I denied the accusation and told him I did not go near Route 60.
Then the interrogator threatened to revoke my father’s work permit if I did not confess and did not tell him exactly how I threw the Molotov cocktail. This threat messed with my mind as my father supports a family of 10 people and it would be a disaster if he could no longer work. Still, I continued to deny the accusation. Then he gave me another date and wanted me to tell him what I did on that date. I told him I did not do anything.
The interrogator had a voice recorder on his desk and was wearing civilian clothes. During the interrogation he thumped the table several times. He brought in the commander in charge of the camp who slapped me on the head and urged me to confess. He told me it looked like I was taking my time and he then took me into another room.
Two people in civilian clothes were in the other room. They did not inform me of my rights and one of them asked me for my name and told me I was accused of throwing a Molotov cocktail at a settlers’ bus. They questioned me for about 30 minutes and were calm. In the end I confessed to throwing a stone because I did not want my father’s work permit to be revoked.
When I confessed they showed me a document in Hebrew and asked me to sign it but I refused to sign and asked them to translate it into Arabic. Then they showed me a document in Arabic and I read it and when I saw it was identical to what I had said I signed it.
After the interrogation I was tied again and taken to another room where they took my fingerprints and photograph. Then I was blindfolded and thrown outside where I remained for about 30 minutes.
After about 30 minutes I was taken in a military vehicle to a cell in the same compound where I was searched in my underwear. Inside the cell they removed the tie and the blindfold. I was not given any food or drink but I managed to sleep for about 30 minutes.
After about 30 minutes I was taken to Ofer prison where I was strip searched before being taken to section 19. I arrived at Ofer at around sunset.
The following day I was taken to Ofer military court. My parents did not attend the hearing because they were not informed. A lawyer was in court and I was denied release on bail and the hearing was adjourned. In all I had about 4 military court hearings. I did not understand what went on during the hearings as everything was in Hebrew.
At the last hearing I was sentenced in a plea bargain to 1 month and 1 day in prison and fined 2,000 shekels. I was also given a suspended sentence but I did not understand the details. The military judge told me to stop being a trouble maker and to focus on my school work. I accepted the plea bargain because I wanted to go home.
I was released on 2 January 2019, on the same day as my last court hearing. I was released earlier because of good conduct. I went home by myself. I stopped a taxi and I arrived home after midnight. I had dinner but I could not sleep; I missed my family so much that I stayed up very late. I finally fell asleep at around 4:00 a.m. It was a tough experience for me. I am in 9thgrade and I want to go back to school.