Testimony - M.B.
|Date of incident:||6 July 2013|
|Location:||Al 'Arrub, West Bank|
On 6 July 2013, a 15-year-old boy from Al 'Arrub refugee camp, in the West Bank, is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:00 a.m. and accused of throwing stones.
“I was sleeping when I woke up to the sound of our doorbell ringing. It was 2:00 a.m. I stayed in bed as my father went to open the door. Israeli soldiers entered the house and seconds later a soldier was beside my bed. He asked for my name and then said: 'You need to come with us. Put some clothes on.’ I was then taken out of the house before I could put my shoes on and made to stand by the front door. A soldier then tied my hands behind my back with one plastic tie. I struggled and it snapped open. He brought a thicker plastic tie and again tied my hands very tightly behind my back. My hands swelled up because the blood circulation was cut off. I asked the soldier to loosen the tie but he ignored me and slapped me on the face and kicked me.”
“By this time young men from my neighbourhood heard the commotion and started throwing stones at the soldiers. I was slapped and kicked each time somebody threw a stone. I realised later that the soldiers had rounded up other children from the camp and lined them up in the street. I could also smell tear gas. I was then taken to the main road (Route 60) and slapped and kicked on the way. When we got to the main road a soldier blindfolded me and told me to cross the street on my own. I was scared that a car might run me over because this is a main highway. I walked not knowing where I was heading. Once on the other side I was pushed into a vehicle. No one told me where I was being taken or why. They made me sit on a small piece of metal. It wasn’t a proper seat and was very uncomfortable. I couldn’t keep myself in place each time the vehicle turned a corner. I fell on the floor a couple of times and each time the soldiers kicked and slapped me. They also spat on me.”
“As the vehicle drove away, somebody asked me if everything was ok and I said yes. He then asked me sarcastically if I wanted some tea and I said no. He asked me if I wanted some biscuits. I sarcastically said yes. Somebody then hit me on my head with their elbow and said: 'Have your biscuits’.”
“I was taken to Etzion settlement. On arrival I was made to kneel outside from around 3:00 a.m. until 8:30 a.m., handcuffed and blindfolded. Later I was taken into the commander’s room and made to kneel on the floor. My blindfold and hand ties were removed. I saw four soldiers in the room with a baseball. They threw the ball at me and hit me on my head. They took turns and each of the soldiers hit me twice with the baseball. Then they blindfolded me and tied my hands and took me for medical examination. A female nurse asked me in broken Arabic whether I had had any injuries. She asked for my blindfold and hand ties to be removed. When she was done a soldier tied my hands very tightly with one plastic tie, blindfolded me and took me for interrogation. On the way a soldier was walking me in circles. He also made me try to climb something that felt like a tree, maybe a palm tree. We finally got to the interrogator’s room.”
“Three interrogators entered the room and introduced themselves. One was called Daoud, another was called Moshe, and the third was called Yona. I didn’t see a lawyer before being interrogated and no one told me anything about my rights. Daoud asked me if I preferred to be treated with honour, or like a donkey. Of course I said I wanted to be treated with honour. He removed the tie and the blindfold and said: 'Ok, tell me about yourself’. I told him I liked to play football. I go to school every morning and in the afternoons I play football. He then asked whether I had finished talking and I said yes and then he said: “It looks like you prefer to be treated like a donkey”. He made me sit on a wooden chair, ordered someone to tie my hands behind the chair with metal handcuffs and put the blindfold on very tightly. I was then slapped and kicked all over my body, on my stomach on my head and between my legs. Someone held my head and banged it against the wall, maybe three or four times. I lost focus in my eyes and felt dizzy. This lasted for about 10 minutes.”
“Then I was taken to another room to see a fourth interrogator. This interrogator was writing things down. I was then taken to another area in Etzion, about one kilometer away, where I waited for about two hours. They brought me some potatoes to eat, which were not cooked properly. My blindfold and ties were removed. The person who brought the food pulled the plate back each time I reached out to take it. He just wanted to humiliate me.”
“Later on the commander walked in and told me I was being taken to Ofer prison. It was around 2:00 p.m. They handcuffed me with metal handcuffs and shackled my feet and put me in a military jeep. The ride to Ofer took about 25 minutes. At Ofer I waited in a room for about four hours. I was then taken for a security inspection and strip-searched. I was then taken to a small prison cell with four other children my age.”
“The following morning I was taken to Ofer military court at 8:00 a.m. I waited until 4:30 p.m. During this time I was brought some fruit to eat. In court I saw my lawyer for the first time. The lawyer told me that my father had paid NIS 1,500 (about $400) as bail. I was released later that day at around 9:00 p.m. Before I was released I was asked to sign a document written in Hebrew but I refused. The person in charge of the prison tried to convince me to sign the paper saying it was a medical report but I still refused. I have another court hearing on 8 August. I have been accused of throwing stones based on secret evidence provided by a collaborator.”