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Testimony: Y.A.Y.J.


Name: Y.A.Y.J.
Age: 15
Date: 19 November 2019
Location: Al' Arrub, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones
On 19 November 2019, a 15-year-old minor from Al’ Arrub refugee camp was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 3:30 a.m. He reports briefly speaking to a lawyer via phone prior to interrogation but not being informed of his right to silence by the interrogator.
I woke up at around 3:30 a.m. to the sound of loud banging at our front door. My father ran to open the door but the soldiers told him to stand clear as they were going to blow it open with explosives. When they could not blow it off they allowed my father to open it. 
About 20 Israeli soldiers entered our home with more outside.The commander asked my father for his identity card and asked him about his children. When my father mentioned my name two soldiers grabbed me and took me outside without allowing me to put my clothes on. They finally allowed me to re-enter the house so I could get dressed after my father insisted. 
The commander gave my father a document about my arrest and the soldiers searched the house including my bedroom. They were looking for certain clothes which a boy was wearing in a photo they had with them. They did not find what they were looking for.
Outside the house a soldier tied my hands behind my back with a single plastic tie which was very tight and painful. It left marks on my wrists. Then they walked me towards the military watchtower at the entrance to the refugee camp where they blindfolded me and took me into the watchtower. Inside the watchtower a soldier banged my head against the wall and I was in pain. I asked the soldier to remove the blindfold but he refused.
I was left inside the watchtower for about 30 minutes. During this time I was examined by a doctor. Then I was taken to a military jeep where I sat on a seat and the jeep took me to the police station in Etzion settlement. At Etzion I was taken to a shipping container where I was left until around 8:00 a.m. when I was interrogated. 
At first the interrogator took me into a side room. He told me I was not a terrorist and that he considered me like his younger son. He told me to consider myself at home. Then he phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me I had the right to remain silent and advised me to remain silent no matter what the interrogator said. He warned me against confessing. The interrogator was not listening and the conversation lasted for about 30 seconds. 
Then the interrogator took me to another room. He was in civilian clothes and had a pistol on his side. He was accompanied by another person who was typing on a computer. At first the interrogator removed the tie and the blindfold. Then, without informing me of my right to silence, he wanted to know where I was on 27 October between 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. I told him I did not remember and that I did not even remember what I had for lunch the day before. He did not react to my answer and remained calm. 
Then the interrogator said I should be at home with my parents and siblings and not in his office. He told me if I did not confess to throwing stones he was going to bring my parents and siblings to the police station. I told him I was not going to confess to something I did not do. I did not remain silent as the lawyer advised because I thought this would be seen as an implied confession. 
Then the interrogator showed me six photos and wanted me to name the boys seen in the photos. I did not give any names. Then he pointed to one boy and told me it was me. I denied it was me. He kept repeating it was me and I kept denying it. 
The interrogation lasted for about five hours. In the end the interrogator showed me documents written in Hebrew and asked me to sign them but I refused to sign and I asked him to translate them for me. When he verbally translated them and I found out they were identical to what I had said so I signed. 
After the interrogation I was photographed and fingerprinted before being taken to a cell where I was searched in my boxer shorts. I spent one night in the cell.
The following day I was taken to Ofer military court where the military judge decided to release me. I was released without charge but my parents had to pay NIS 500. My parents did not attend the hearing because they were not informed about it. After the court I was taken back to Etzion police station and my father picked me up from there. I arrived home at around 8:00 p.m. I was released on 21 November 2019.
 This testimony was produced with the financial support of the German Federal Foreign Office. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Military Court Watch.