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Home » Children »

Testimony: M.J.H.

 Name:  M.J.H.
 Age:  16 years
 Date of incident:  4 February 2015
 Location:  Beit Ummar, West Bank
 Accusation:  Throwing stones
                
On 4 February 2015, a 16-year-old youth is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2.00 a.m. and accused of throwing stones.
 
“I woke up to the sound of Israeli soldiers inside the house. It was 2.00 a.m. The soldiers told my father to bring all the children to the living room and asked him for our identity cards. When my father gave them my birth certificate they told him they were going to arrest me. They told me to get dressed and the soldiers gave my father a document. They told us they were going to question me about stone throwing at Kiryat Arba settlement.”
 
“The soldiers took me outside the house and led me towards the centre of the village where military jeeps were waiting. They blindfolded me and tied my hands to the front with three plastic ties: one on each wrist and one connecting the two. The ties were not painful. They put me in the back of a jeep and made me sit on the metal floor. The jeep drove for about 30 minutes before stopping at a settlement which I didn’t recognise. I was immediately taken to a clinic together with another detainee. When I tried to speak to the other detainee a soldier punched me in the chest and slapped me on the head. The doctor examined me and gave me a questionnaire to answer.”
 
“I was then taken back to the jeep where I sat on the metal floor. I remained on the floor of the jeep until 4.00 a.m. The jeep then drove for about an hour before stopping at the settlement of Kiryat Arba. I remained in the jeep for another hour before I was taken out. I was taken to a room where there was an Israeli policeman. I sat on a seat for about 15 minutes. An interrogator then came and took me to the another room.”
 
“There were two interrogators in the room. They were both dressed in civilian clothes. One of them told me there were two options to deal with me: the first was to treat me like a human being and the second was to treat me like an animal. I told him I preferred the first option. The other interrogator told me if I didn’t confess he was going to rape me. He slapped me and told me if I didn’t confess he was going to insert a stick in my bottom. The first interrogator told me I had the right to remain silent and the right to consult with a lawyer. He asked me for my father’s number and tried to call him but his phone was turned off. The second interrogator accused me of throwing stones and Molotov cocktail. I told him this was not true. He showed me a photograph showing masked men and told me one of them was me. I told him this was not true and that I didn’t know the masked men in the photograph. The first round of interrogation lasted for about an hour. In the end the interrogator printed out a document in Hebrew and asked me to sign it but I refused. Then I was taken out into the corridor.”
 
“About 15 minutes later an intelligence officer came and introduced himself as captain Wael. He told me that a boy from the village had confessed against me and that he had told him that we both threw stones at soldiers on multiple occasions. I told him this was not true and asked him to confront me with the boy. He told me he wasn’t going to do so. I was then taken to a room where I sat on a seat for about three hours. Another interrogator, an Israeli policeman, then came and took me back to the interrogation room.”
 
“Before the second interrogation started he told me I was like his son and that he was there for me to open my heart to him and to tell him what was going on in my mind and distressing me. Then he told me I was accused of throwing stones and Molotov cocktail. I told him this was not true. The interrogation lasted for about 15 minutes. Then he printed out a docuemnt in both Hebrew and Arabic and asked me to sign it and I did.”
 
“Another interrogator then came and started to ask me about names of boys from the village. I told him I didn’t know them. I was then photographed and fingerprinted and taken back into the room where I remained until 7.00 p.m. I wasn’t given any food but I was allowed to use the bathroom.”
 
“I was then taken back to the jeep and made to sit on the floor. The jeep drove for about 30 minutes before arriving at the settlement of Etzion. I was put in a room where I spent the rest of the night. Later that morning I was handcuffed and driven to Ofer military court, near Ramallah. I sat in the waiting room until around 2.00 p.m. At around 2.00 p.m. I was taken to the military court where a lawyer was there to represent me. My parents were not there because they were not informed. The hearing was adjourned for a few days. After the hearing I was strip searched, given prison clothes and taken to Ofer prison. On Tuesday, 10 February, I had another military court hearing. This time my lawyer and my parents were present. The hearing was adjourned to allow for my interrogation to resume.”
 
“The following day, at around 9.00 a.m., I was taken back to Kiryat Arba settlement. I was handcuffed and the trip took about one hour. On arrival at Kiryat Arba I was immediately taken for interrogation. The interrogator wore police uniform. He did not inform me of my right to silence or of the right to consult with a lawyer. He accused me of throwing stones and Molotov cocktail and told me there were new confessions against me. I told him I did not throw stones at anyone and challenged him to confront me with those he claimed had confessed against me. He never did. The interrogation lasted for about 30 minutes and I was then taken back to Ofer prison.”

“I had six more military court hearings and my lawyer was changed. The last lawyer was able to convince the military court to release me on bail pending the next hearing. The military court accepted to release me on bail of 2,000 shekels. The court also put me under house arrest. I was allowed to leave the house with my mother only between 7.00 a.m. and 2.00 p.m. I was ordered to remain near the house the whole time. My parents paid the bail money and I went home with them. I was called for another military court hearing since I was released. The hearing was adjourned until 15 June 2015.”