|Date:||1 June 2019|
|Location:||Kafr Qaddum, West Bank|
On 1 June 2019, a 17-year-old minor from Kafr Qaddum was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 4.30 p.m. He reports talking to a lawyer via phone prior to interrogation and being informed of his right to silence.
At around 4:30 p.m. there were clashes with Israeli soldiers during the weekly protest at the nearby settlement. I ran home to avoid the soldiers but three soldiers chased me inside and started beating me. They beat me on my head, my right shoulder and on my leg.
One of the soldiers then tied my hands behind my back with two plastic ties on top of each other and tightened them very hard. They were painful and left marks on my wrists for days. I was also blindfolded. I was then led towards the settlement of Qedumim and taken to the military base there. On the way the soldiers swore at me.
At the base they made me sit on a chair in an open area and left me there, tied and blindfolded, until around 10:00 p.m. I was not given any food but I was given some water which tasted strange. During this time I was given a medical examination. The person who examined me removed the ties and the blindfold during the examination and then replaced them.
At around 10:00 p.m. I was taken to the back of a military jeep where I sat on the metal floor. The jeep took me to Ariel settlement. At Ariel I was left in a room for about 30 minutes and then I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator removed the blindfold but kept my ties on because he did not have anything to cut them with. I then pulled my hands apart until the ties snapped. The interrogator was in civilian clothes and had a pistol on his side. He started by telling me everyone in my village was disgusting and asked me why we all cause problems. I told him I was not involved in anything and did not cause any problems to anyone. I told him soldiers arrested me from my home and I was not involved in the protest.
Then he called my father and told him I was arrested during the protest in the village. My father was very upset with the interrogator and hung up on him. Then I gave the interrogator the name of a lawyer and he called him for me. He put him on speaker phone and listened to the conversation which lasted for about a minute. The lawyer asked me what the story was and I told him I was arrested form home and that the soldiers beat me. The lawyer told me he was going to follow up on my case. At that point the interrogator told me to leave the room and he spoke to the lawyer. Then I was brought back in.
The interrogator told me I had the right to remain silent. I decided not to remain silent because I thought that could be interpreted as if I did not have a good answer to the interrogator’s questions. Then he accused me of throwing stones at soldiers from a distance of 10 meters during a protest in the village. I denied the accusation. Then he told me denying the accusation was not in my interest. He told me it was in my interest to confess. He said if I confessed he was going to send me home.
The interrogation lasted for about 40 minutes. The interrogator brought in two soldiers whom he claimed had testified against me. At the end of the interrogation the interrogator wanted me to sign documents written in Hebrew but I refused to sign. He got upset and yelled at me urging me to sign but I told him I was not going to sign a document I did not understand. Then he told me if I confessed he would send me home immediately to be home for Eid. I told him I did not throw stones at soldiers and was not going to confess to something I did not do.
Then I was taken to Huwwara military base where I was searched in my underwear. At Huwwara I was taken to a cell by myself and I think they forgot about me. They did not bring me anything to eat. I drank from the sink that was in the room. I started to bang the door and to shout until they finally brought me something to eat 24 hours later. I spent two nights in the cell and then I was taken to Megiddo prison where I was searched in my underwear.
From Megiddo prison I was taken to Salem military court. My parents were not informed of the hearing. My lawyer was there but I did not understand anything because the court did not provide any translation. After the hearing I was taken back to prison.
I had eight military court hearings and at the last one I was sentenced in a plea bargain to four months in prison and fined NIS 2,000. I also received a suspended sentence of six months in prison suspended for three years. I found the plea bargain attractive because it meant I was going to go home a week later. That was why I accepted it but it meant I confessed to something I did not do.
I spent my prison sentence at Megiddo prison. In the beginning I found it very hard because I did not know anyone and we were not allowed to make phone calls to our families. My family visited me only two days before I was released because it too a long time for the visiting permits to be issued.
I was released on 16 September 2019 at Qalqiliya checkpoint although my family was told to wait at Al Jalama. I arrived home at around 11:30 p.m. and I had a delicious dinner which my mother had prepared.
This testimony was produced with the financial support of the German Federal Foreign Office. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Military Court Watch.