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Testimony: S.R.S.S.


Name: S.R.S.S.
Age: 15
Date: 27 January 2019
Location: Al Khader, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones

On 27 January 2019, a 15-year-old minor from Al Kahder was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 5:00 p.m. on the street near his grandparents’ home. He reports being interrogated multiple times without first being informed of his legal rights. 

I went to visit my grandparents who live near the separation barrier. It was around 5:00 p.m. There were no clashes with soldiers at the time but some boys were fighting with each other nearby. I stood aside and watched. 
As I started to leave an Israeli military jeep suddenly pulled over and the soldiers told me to stop and raise my hands. A soldier then told me to face the wall while he searched me. Another soldier kicked me to open my legs and slapped me on the back of my head. An old man who happened to be nearby and who spoke some Hebrew explained to me that the soldiers wanted to detain me for 30 minutes to ask me some questions and then they would release me.
A soldier then grabbed me by my pony tail and pulled me to the ground and tied my hands behind my back with one plastic tie. The tie was not painful. Then he blindfolded me and made me sit by the wall. 
A short while later I heard voices around me. I managed to pull down the blindfold with my arm and I saw some relatives. I told them to call my father and inform him I had been detained. Then my father came with my mother and grandmother and they all tried to reason with the soldiers to get me released but they did not succeed.
Then a soldier untied me and allowed me to go and speak to my family. I said goodbye to them and then a soldier took me to a military jeep. Outside the jeep he painfully tied my legs and hands with plastic ties. When I complained about the hand tie a soldier cut my wrist when he tried to loosen it using a screwdriver. Then he slapped me on the back of my head, swore at my mother and called her “a whore”. 
I then lost my balance and the other soldiers thought I was having a fight with the soldier and started to beat me all over my body. Then they pushed me into the back of the jeep and made me sit on the metal floor. 
The jeep drove me to the settlement of Bitar Ellit and I was left on the floor of a corridor until around 5:00 a.m. I could not sleep at all. Then I was taken for interrogation.  
The interrogator removed the blindfold and the tie on my hands and kept the tie on my legs. He did not inform me of my right to silence and accused me of throwing stones at soldiers and told me my friends had confessed against me. I denied the accusation. He was calm and questioned me for about 20 minutes. 
At the end of the interrogation the interrogator phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told not to worry and not to confess even if the interrogator shouts at me. The interrogator remained in the room and listened to the conversation which lasted about a minute. 
At the end of the interrogation I was tied and blindfolded again. I was left in the room while tied and blindfolded. Then another interrogator came in.  He lifted the blindfold and told me I had five minutes to confess. He threated if I did not confess his men were going to come in and “do what they normally do”. He told me I must know what he meant. He was angry and banged the table as he spoke to me. Then he took a pair of scissors and started to cut my hair. Then he asked me again whether I wanted to confess but I did not. 
The interrogation lasted for about two hours and I was not informed of my rights. Then he showed me documents in Hebrew and asked me to sign them but I refused to sign and asked for a translation which he never provided. 
Then I was blindfolded again and taken to the military base at the District Coordination Officer near Beit Jala where I was given a medical examination. After the medical check I was taken to a shipping container with soldiers. I could not sleep because the soldiers were very noisy. 
At around 7:30 a.m. I was taken to the police station in Etzion settlement where I was strip searched and I was taken to a cell where I remained until around 4:00 p.m. They brought me some food but I could not eat it because it was unappetising. At around 4:00 p.m. I was taken to Ofer prison where I was strip searched again before being taken to section 13. 
The following day I was taken for another interrogation by an intelligence officer at Ofer. The interrogator did not inform me of my rights and repeated the same accusation. I denied the accusation. I was questioned for about 10 minutes and then I was taken back to prison.
The following day I had a military court hearing. My parents did not attend because they were not informed. I was denied bail and was taken back to prison. 
I had about 17 military court hearings. At the last hearing I was sentenced in a plea bargain to five months in prison and fined NIS 2,000. I was also given a suspended sentence valid for three years. The plea bargain was based on the testimonies of seven soldiers who claimed they had seen me throw 12 stones at Israeli vehicles from a distance of 100 meters.
I was released on 27 May 2019 at Al Jib checkpoint and I arrived home at around 8:00 p.m. In prison I attended classes and exercised to keep fit. My parents visited me six times in prison. While in prison I missed the horse which my father bought me about three years earlier. I had a strong bond with the horse and I missed it badly.