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Home » Children »

Testimony: M.Y.A.


 Name:  M.Y.A.
 Age:  16 years
 Date of incident:  1 December 2014
 Location:  Wadi Fakin, West Bank
 Accusation:  Demonstrating/throwing stones
                 
On 1 December 2014, a 16-year-old youth is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:00 a.m. and accused of participating in a demonstration and throwing stones.
 
“My father woke me and told me Israeli soldiers were in the house and they had come to arrest me. It was 2:00 a.m. I got up and went to the living room where the soldiers had gathered. The commander told me to get dressed. Before I was led out of the house a soldier asked my father to sign a document acknowledging that no damage had been done to the house.”
 
“I was led to the centre of the village. Soldiers tied my hands to the front with one plastic tie which was very tight and painful. I was then put into the back of the jeep and made to sit on the metal floor, between the legs of the soldiers. I was also blindfolded. The jeep waited for about 15 minutes until another detainee was brought in and then drove for about five minutes towards the Israeli military base near the settlement of Bitar Illit. I was taken out of the jeep and made me sit on the ground in the cold for about an hour. I was then taken to see a doctor. The doctor asked me some questions about my health and I was taken back to the jeep. The jeep drove away for about 15 minutes before it stopped at the police station inside the Israeli settlement of Etzion.”
 
“I was taken out of the jeep and put in a shipping container where I sat of the floor for about four hours. I was still tied and blindfolded. There were soldiers around who made me sit still without moving which was very tiring. I was then taken to the interrogation room. The soldiers removed the blindfold before the interrogator came in but I remained tied.”
 
 “The interrogator wore an Israeli police uniform. He violently flung open the door intending to frighten me. He immediately started to shout telling me I had to confess. The interrogator then left the room and I was left by myself for a few minutes before another interrogator came in.”
 
“The second interrogator wore civilian clothes. He started by telling me I was like a son to him and that I needed to tell him the truth. He did not inform me of my right to silence or my right to see a lawyer. He then told me I was accused of taking part in a demonstration in our village and of throwing stones at soldiers. I told him this was not true and that I was in Bethlehem on the day of the demonstration. The interrogator immediately got angry and changed his tone of voice. He told me I was a liar. He then took out an electric rod from a cupboard. The rod had something that looked like a light bulb at its end. The interrogator turned the electric rod on and waved it in the air. The rod made a sound like an electric short circuit. He then turned it down a bit and put it on my leg. I felt a mild electric shock. The interrogator then called another policeman to come into the room. The policeman was so big he could hardly fit through the door. The big policeman wanted to know why I was refusing to confess. He banged the table aggressively. I was scared that he might beat me but he left the room shortly afterwards. The other interrogator told me that the big policeman was crazy and that I should confess or he might beat me up.”
 
“The interrogation lasted for about three hours. At one point the interrogator told me there were photographs of me throwing stones. I asked the interrogator to show them to me but he never did and immediately changed the subject. He then told me it was better for me to confess because if I didn’t the judge in the military court would 'screw me’. The interrogator swore at me and called my sister and mother whores. He also told me he was going to have sex with my mother and my sisters. He also slapped me on the face more than once.”
 
“In the end he printed out my statement in both Arabic and Hebrew. I read the statement which said that I denied having taken part in a demonstration and throwing stones at soldiers. Then he gave me a document saying I had the right to see a lawyer. This was after the interrogation was over. During this whole time I wasn’t given any food, but I was allowed to use the bathroom.”
 
“I was then photographed and fingerprinted. A soldier then strip searched me and took me to a prison cell inside Etzion. I remained in the cell by myself until around 10:00 p.m. when soldiers handcuffed me and put me in a vehicle. I was put in a very small area in the back. There was hardly enough space for me to sit and I kept banging my head on the ceiling because it was too low. There were no lights inside the vehicle so I asked the soldiers to turn the light on. In the beginning they did not agree but later they did. The vehicle drove for about an hour before it stopped at Ofer prison, near Ramallah. At Ofer I was again strip searched, given prison clothes and taken into Section 13 where I was put with other prisoners my age.”
 
“On 4 December 2014,  I had a military court hearing. A lawyer was in the military court to represent me. He was able to convince the military judge to release me on bail until the next hearing and until there was enough evidence presented against me. My family paid 1,000 shekels in bail and I went home with my family on the same day.”
 
“For a whole week afterwards I could not sleep. Each time I heard the sound of vehicles outside our house I was scared that they had come back to get me. What bothered me most was that they wanted me to confess to something I did not commit.”