|Date:||9 November 2017|
|Location:||Al 'Azza, West Bank|
On 9 November 2017, a 14-year-old boy from Al 'Azza is detained by Israeli soldiers on his way home from school. He reports being accompanied by his father during interrogation but not being informed of his right to silence or right to consult with a lawyer.
I was walking home from school with my 13-year-old brother and 11-year-old sister at around 12:30 p.m. when clashes broke out with Israeli soldiers near Rachel’s Tomb. A soldier called me over to him and told me not to be afraid. I went with my sister and brother but the soldier told them to go home and he kept me.
The soldier took me inside a military watchtower where he tied my hands behind my back with one plastic tie which was very tight and painful. It left a mark on my wrists. Then soldiers slapped me on the face and beat me all over my body. A short time later my father came to the watchtower and I could hear his voice outside calling my name.
When I asked to use the toilet an Israeli settler followed me to the toilet and punched me in the stomach. A soldier saw all this but did not intervene. They also poured water on me and I was soaked.
After I went to the toilet the soldiers allowed my father into the watchtower. He was shocked when he saw the marks on my face. He asked the soldiers to release me immediately but they refused. Then the two of us were taken in a police car to Atarot police station. My father and I sat on a seat in the back. To get to the car we had to walk through a group of settlers who verbally abused us. They called us “sons of whores”.
At the police station my father and I were locked up in an outdoor cadge. We were left there for about four hours. My father felt claustrophobic and asked for some water but we were not given any water. About four hours later my father and I were taken to an interrogation room.
My father and I sat next to each other in the interrogation room. I remember there was a camera in the room. The interrogator told my father he wanted to question me in his presence and that he was not going to force me to say anything. Then he looked at me and told me to speak only in response to his questions and that I was not allowed to speak otherwise. He also told me not to look at my father. He did not say anything else about my rights and I did not speak to a lawyer at all. The first time I saw my lawyer was in the military court.
The interrogator accused me of throwing stones. I denied the accusation. Then he wanted to know why I was brought to the police station and I told him a soldier pulled me aside and told me not to be afraid and then he detained me. Then he told me a soldier had seen me throwing stones and testified against me. Then he started to raise his voice at me. When my father intervened and told him not to raise his voice at me the interrogator told my father I was impolite and rude just like my father.
Then he showed my father photographs on his laptop and told him I had taken part in the clashes and threw stones at soldiers. My father denied that it was me in the photographs. My father asked me whether I was among the boys seen in the photographs and I told him I was not. Then the interrogator said both me and my father were liars.
The interrogator then left the room and came back with a document written in both Hebrew and Arabic. He showed it to my father and my father signed it after he made sure it did not include a false confession.
Then my father and I were taken outside and the interrogator told my father to have a private word with me so that I tell the truth about what happened. Privately my father told me not to be scared. He thought the interrogator was listening in on our conversation.
My father then left and I was taken to Ofer prison . I arrived there at around 6:00p.m. A lawyer took me straight to the military court. The hearing was adjourned and I was taken back to Atarot police station where I remained until around 2:00 a.m. Then I was taken back to Ofer prison where I was strip searched and asked to crouch up and down while naked. Then I was taken to Section 13.
The following day I spoke to my father from prison. I was very sad when he told me he could not sleep all night. In all I had five military court hearings.
At the last hearing I was sentenced in a plea bargain to two months in prison and fined 2,000 shekels. I also received a suspended sentence of eight months in prison valid for four years. I accepted the plea bargain because the lawyer told my father if I rejected it I would be sentenced to eight months in prison and fined 8,000 shekels.
I spent the last seven days of my sentence in Megiddo prison inside Israel, the rest of the time I was in Ofer prison. I was released two weeks early for good conduct on 25 December 2017 and I went home with my family who picked me up from Al Jalama checkpoint. My mother had prepared a nice meal and I was very pleased. In the morning I woke up very early thinking I was still in prison. I couldn’t believe it when I realised I was at home.
My parents did not visit me in prison because their permit was issued on the day when I was released.
In prison I studied Arabic and attended drawing classes. My father told me his work permit was revoked because of my imprisonment. One day he went to work in the morning as usual but the soldiers at the checkpoint stopped him and told him his permit was no longer valid. My family depended on my father’s work permit for more than 15 years. We are eight people at home and my father cannot provide for us anymore.