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Testimony: M.A.I.I.


Name:  M.A.I.I.
Age:  15
Date:  28 August 2019
Location:  Aida camp, West Bank
Accusation:  Throwing stones/Molotovs/pipe bombs

On 28 August 2019, a 15-year-old minor from Aida refugee camp was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 4:00 a.m. He reports being interrogated multiple times without first being informed of his legal rights on each occasion. He was released without charge 7 days later.

My mother woke me up at around 4:00 a.m. and told me Israeli soldiers were in our home. When I looked around my bedroom I saw around seven soldiers accompanied by two dogs. 
The commander asked me for my name and then told me to get dressed. He took my phone and identity card. A soldier searched my wardrobe and picked a red top and made me put it on. They gave my parents a document filled out in Hebrew with information about my arrest. My mother was very upset and was shaking. The commander gave her a glass of water and told her not to worry.
The soldiers took me outside where they tied my hands to the back with two sets of plastic ties: two around my wrists and two higher up close to my elbows. The ties were tight and caused me a lot of pain and discomfort. Then they blindfolded me and a soldier slapped me on the back. The soldiers then led me towards the military base at Rachel’s Tomb where they made me kneel for about 15 minutes.
After about 15 minutes I was approached by someone who introduced himself as “Captain Abu Daoud”. He told me I was “a bad boy” and accused me of throwing Molotov cocktails at soldiers. He did not inform me of my rights. When I denied the accusation he repeated it and then started to talk in Hebrew to the other soldiers. Then they removed the blindfold and took me inside to talk to Captain Nidal, the commander who conducted the arrest.
Captain Nidal asked me whether I had done something wrong and I told him I had not. Then he accused me of throwing stones from the roof top of our house. Then he told me he had detained my friends who told him everything. I asked him to tell me their names but he refused and told me I would see them later. Then he asked me again whether I had done anything wrong and I told him I had not. Then he warned against pleading with him after the interrogation wanting to confess. He concluded by saying “prison is made for men”. He spoke to me without informing me of my rights. 
After Captain Nidal was finished he re-blindfolded me and I was taken to the back of a military jeep where I sat on a seat. The jeep took me to a police station called Oz somewhere in Jerusalem overlooking the Old City.
At the police station they removed the ties and replaced them with metal handcuffs. They also shackled me and removed the blindfold. Then they took me to a cell where I was left from around 5:00 a.m. until around noon. I was given some water and they allowed me to use the toilet twice but only after pleading with them. The cell did not have any windows but some light came in from under the door. At around noon I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator removed the handcuffs, the shackles and the blindfold and immediately told me I was a bad boy and that I had harmed Israeli soldiers. I told him this was not true and I did not do anything wrong. Then he asked me whether I wanted to speak to a lawyer before he proceeded with the interrogation and I told him I did.
The interrogator phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me his name and then told me not to worry and to calm down. Then he told me to deny being in any photographs I might be shown. Then he told me I had the right to remain silent. I understood this to mean I should remain silent as long as the interrogator spoke and not to interrupt. When the interrogator stops talking I could speak and say anything I wanted. The conversation lasted a few minutes and the interrogator left the room during the conversation. I doubted this person was a lawyer and I was very cautious about what I told him. 
Then the interrogator told me I had the right to remain silent. He told me it was better for me and him if I remained silent. He was calm when he asked the question but the minute I denied the accusation he flipped and became angry and swore at me and my religion.
The interrogator accused me of throwing a Molotov cocktail and pipe bombs together with other boys. I denied the accusation. He questioned me for about an hour and most of the time he asked me personal questions. He wanted to know which school I went to and whether my parents pressured me into doing things I did not want to do. He wanted to know whether my parents had problems in their relationship and asked me about my siblings. He asked me what time I got up in the morning and what time I went to bed and whether I worked or not. He asked me whether I knew where Rachel’s Tomb was.
Then he showed me documents in Hebrew and asked me to sign them but I refused to sign unless a lawyer was present. He phoned a lawyer and told him I refused to sign. Then I was strip searched and taken back to the cell where I remained until around 6:00 p.m. Two other boys were in the same cell and there was hardly any space for the three of us. The cell was the size of a table and we were very uncomfortable.
At around 6:00 p.m. I was taken to Ofer prison where I waited inside the jeep for about five hours before being admitted. Then I was strip searched again and taken to section 13. 
The following day I was taken to Ofer military court. My mother attended and the hearing was adjourned. 
Two days later I was taken for another interrogation at the same police station. It was a different interrogator who was aggressive. As soon as I entered the room he told me to sit down and not move and not to say a word. He spoke to me in a rude demeaning manner which I found disturbing. He called me a donkey and did not inform me of my rights.
The interrogator showed me video footage of clashes with soldiers and accused me of being among the boys taking part. He said the clashes occurred on 4 August 2019. I denied the accusation. He questioned me for about 30 minutes and I continued to deny the accusation.  He showed me documents in Hebrew and asked me to sign but I refused to sign. He then gave me a document in Arabic and I read it and then I signed it because it was identical to what I had said.  After the interrogation I was taken back to Ofer. 
Two days later I was taken to the military court. My mother came to attend but I was never taken into the court room. At the end of the day I was told I was going to be released. I was released without charge on 3 September 2019 and I went home with my mother. We arrived home at around 5:00 p.m.