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Testimony: W.I.A.T.


Name: W.I.A.T.
Age: 17
Date: 26 February 2018
Location: An Nabi Saleh, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones

On 26 February 2018, a 17-year-old youth from An Nabi Saleh is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 3:00 a.m. He reports being allowed to speak to a lawyer prior to interrogation. He is released on bail of NIS 18,000 on 15 July 2018. 

I heard a commotion outside our home at around 3:00 a.m. I got up and looked out the window and saw lots of Israeli soldiers in the neighbourhood. 
Shortly afterwards I heard loud banging at our front door. My father was traveling and my mother did not want me to answer but I did. About 10 soldiers entered our house. One of them aimed his gun at me as I opened the door and most of them wore face masks.
The commander told us to gather in the living room and he checked our identity cards. When he saw my name he told me to get ready because I was under arrest. He did not give my mother any documents or tell us why I was under arrest.
I was taken outside where I was searched and then my hands were tied to the front with one plastic tie which was very tight and painful. My hands swelled and turned blue and the tie left marks on my wrists for a long time. I was also blindfolded.
The soldiers then led me towards the military watchtower at the entrance to my village. I was made me sit outside the watchtower for a short time and then I was taken to a bus. A soldier pointed his gun at me and slapped me on the head.
Then I was taken to a nearby military base where they made me sit on the floor inside a room for about three hours. I asked for some water and they finally brought me a glass of water after I pleaded with them. 
At one point a doctor removed the blindfold and examined me and then put it back on afterwards. He asked me to fill out a form on his mobile phone about my health condition. 
Later I was taken to the police station in Binyamin settlement where I arrived at around 7:00 a.m. At Benyamin I waited in a room until the afternoon when it was my turn to be interrogated.
The interrogator removed the blindfold and the tie. He was in a police uniform and spoke broken Arabic and had a camera and a voice recorder in the room. 
Before questioning me he took me outside, called a lawyer and allowed me to speak to her. The interrogator waited while I spoke to the lawyer who told me to remain silent and not to say anything. She also told me the interrogator is not allowed to beat or physically abuse me. Then the interrogator took me back to the interrogation room. The interrogator did not tell me I had the right to silence.
The interrogator told me he had confessions against me and gave me some dates and claimed I had taken part in throwing stones at soldiers on those dates. I simply said no. I felt things would get worse for me and the interrogation would last longer if I remained silent so I decided to give short answers. This lasted for about 30 minutes. He showed me documents in Hebrew and asked me to sign them but I refused to sign. 
Then he took me into the corridor where his behavior, away from the camera, changed. He aggressively pushed me against the wall and re-tied me tightly. 
Then I was photographed and fingerprinted and then left in a corridor for about 10 minutes. I felt dizzy because I had not had anything to eat and I was hungry. I asked the soldiers for some food and they brought me a sandwich. They also allowed me to use the toilet. Then I was taken to another room where I waited for about an hour. After an hour I was taken to Ofer prison. 
I don’t know what time we arrived at Ofer but it was at night. The soldiers made us wait outside for about three hours before they allowed us in. Inside I was strip searched and before being taken to Section 13. 
The following day I was taken to Ofer military court. My family was not informed and so they did not attend the hearing. The military judge told me he wanted to keep me in detention because the interrogator forgot to interrogate me about something. After the hearing I was taken to a side room for further interrogation.
The interrogator told me I had the right to remain silent and that he was going to ask me some additional questions and it was up to me whether I wanted to remain silent or not. He questioned me about an incident in the village when a military jeep was stoned. He accused me of taking part and told me someone had confessed against me. I denied the accusation. This interrogation lasted for about 10 minutes and I continued to deny the accusation.
I had many military court hearings. My lawyer kept trying to get me released on bail because of lack of evidence but the prosecutor did not agree. My mother refused to pay any bail money. She argued I should be released unconditionally because there was no evidence against me. At the last hearing the court decided to release me on bail of 18,000 shekels which my family refused to pay. My lawyer was able to find someone who was willing to pay the bail and I was released on 15 July 2018. I was released around midnight and I went home with my family.
My mother visited me twice during my time in prison because it took a long time for her permit to be issued - more than two-and-a-half months. I haven’t been informed about any further hearings yet. I want to focus on my school and I am determined to pass my high school exams because I want to go to college.