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Testimony: Y.A.A.Z.


Name: Y.A.A.Z.
Age: 14
Date: 8 January 2019
Location: Beit Ummar, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones

On 8 January 2019, a 14-year-old minor from Beit Ummar was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:30 a.m. He is questioned by a soldier without being informed of his legal rights. He is later released on bail on 31 January 2019. 

At around 2:30 a.m. Israeli soldiers started banging at our front gate and then broke it down. My father opened the inside door and about 15 soldiers entered our home. 
The soldiers spoke to my father and asked him about weapons and about me. They searched our house and caused damage to our furniture. They took kafias and mobile phones and never brought them back. Then they said they wanted to arrest me and gave my father a document with information about my arrest and asked him to sign it. 
I was then taken outside and the commander started to ask me some questions without informing me of my rights. He wanted to know where I had hidden a specific jacket and wanted me to bring it. He threatened to make my family stand in the rain and then threatened to kill them if I did not turn in the jacket. He told me the soldiers were crazy and out of control and could do anything. He made me stand in the rain for about 10 minutes. 
After about 10 minutes of standing in the rain a soldier tied my hands behind my back with three plastic ties: one on each wrist and another connecting the two. They were tight and painful. He also blindfolded me.
I was then taken to the back of a military jeep and made me sit on the metal floor. The soldiers were singing loudly inside the jeep and making fun of me. They swore at my mother and sisters and called them “whores”.
The jeep drove to the settlement of Karmi Zur but I was left in the jeep until around 6:00 or 7:00 a.m. Then the jeep drove around for about an hour and then took me to the police station in Etzion settlement.
On arrival at Etzion I was taken to a corridor leading to the toilets and I was left there on the floor for about two or three hours. When I pulled the blindfold down because I could not stand it anymore a soldier slapped me and put it back on. At around 11:00 a.m. I was taken for interrogation.
As soon as the interrogator walked into the room he handed me a knife and told me “go ahead, stab me”. I did not touch the knife. Then he told me this was not the first time he had seen me and that he knew my family and my brothers and told me he wanted to save me the hardships I had suffered during my first arrest. He told me he wanted to come to an agreement with me and said he was going to be nice and remove the blindfold. 
He removed the blindfold and told me to take a short rest and offered me some food and drink. Then he phoned a lawyer and put the phone on speaker and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me not to be afraid and not to confess. The interrogator was listening. The lawyer and the interrogator told me I had the right to remain silent. About 10 minutes later he asked me whether I had enough rest and was ready for him.
He asked me whether I throw stones at soldiers. When I told him I did not he accused me of being evasive. He told me he was nice to me and expected the same from me. Then he became angry. He punched me on the head and slapped me in the face and asked me about other boys from the village. He threatened to arrest my father and asked me about the jacket and my telephone. Then he calmed down again, told me he was going to give me a break. He put his pistol and some bullets on the table in front of me and left the room.
Then he came back and took me to another room where another interrogator showed me a satellite image of my village on his computer screen. He did not inform me of my rights. He zoomed in and showed me the neighbourhood where I live and asked me to point to the house where another boy lives and he named the boy. I told him the image was not clear enough and I did not show the boy’s house. Then he offered me some sweets and told me the other interrogator was mean and could have killed me if he wanted. He told me to be straightforward with him and to identify the house because, unlike the other interrogator, he was on my side.
Then he took me to see a third interrogator and warned me that he was a crazy person and if I lied to him he would kill me. The third interrogator did not inform me of my rights and accused me of not cooperating with them and handed me a document accusing me of membership of the PFLP and Hamas and that I was accused of throwing stones at Karmi Zur and of disturbing the security of the area and throwing a Molotov cocktail at the settlement. He asked me if I had anything to say and I told him denied all the accusations. 
The third interrogator had a voice recorder and he turned it on and off to record the words he was looking for taking them out of context. When I denied I was a member of Hamas and the PFLP he turned the voice recorder on when I said the words Hamas and the PFLP. Then he told me the judge in the military court was not going to show any sympathy towards me. He told me if I did not confess the mad soldiers waiting outside the room would beat me up. 
Later I was taken back to the first interrogator who urged me again to confess against the other boys and promised never to tell them I had confessed against them. He told me if I confessed he was going to send me home to my family. I did not confess. Then he printed out documents in Hebrew and asked me to sign them but I did not sign. The interrogations lasted for about six hours. 
After the interrogations I was tied and blindfolded and taken to a prison cell at Etzion where I was searched in my underwear while about 10 soldiers were watching. I felt embarrassed. The ties and the blindfold were removed and I was given some food. I was left in the cell which was freezing cold and I did not have any blankets. I was left there a whole day and was given two meals. 
The following day I was taken to Ofer prison. I arrived there at around 9:00 p.m. I was strip searched before being taken to section 13. 
The following day I had a military court hearing. My parents were not there because they were not notified. I was denied bail and the hearing was adjourned. 
I had five military court hearings and in the end my lawyer told me that the military judge decided to release me on bail. My father paid NIS 1,000 and I was released on 31 January 2019. 
I have not been summoned to court since my release. The prison authorities refused to give us back our telephones because my file is not yet closed, so I am waiting and I don’t know what will happen next.