Testimony - F.M.
|Date of incident:||10 April 2013|
|Location:||Al 'Arrub, West Bank|
|Accusation:||Throwing stones/striking a soldier|
On 10 April 2013, a 15-year-old boy from the Al ’Arrub refugee camp, near Bethlehem, is arrested by Israeli soldiers during clashes at the entrance to the camp.
“At around 5:00 p.m., on Wednesday, 10 April, there were clashes with soldiers near the entrance to the camp. I was there. The clashes got worse and some people were throwing stones at the soldiers. All of a sudden a soldier aimed his gun and fired rubber bullets directly at me. I was hit in my stomach and leg. About 20 soldiers ran in my direction and started to beat me. They hit me all over my body using the back of their guns and batons. I was beaten so badly that I was bleeding from my mouth. My back still hurts nearly three months later.”
“One soldier tied my hands behind my back with a single plastic tie. It was so tight that I couldn’t stand the pain so I used all my strength and snapped it open. A soldier got so upset he hit me in my face. He also verbally abused me and called me son of a whore. Another soldier then handcuffed me with metal cuffs. He also verbally abused me so I kicked him back. He then tasered me which was very painful and scary. I was then blind folded and taken to an army jeep that was nearby. They banged my head against the window and made me sit on the metal floor of the jeep. The soldiers continued to beat and verbally abuse me inside the jeep.”
“I was taken to the nearby Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba. I waited for about two hours and was then taken to an interrogator. The interrogator asked me why I threw stones. I denied the accusation and told him I was on my way home back from work. He told me I was a liar and whipped me. He told me to confess but I told him I had nothing to confess. At this point he called three men who lifted me by my arms and legs and hung me on a wooden structure on the wall. The structure looked like a cross except that it had two pieces for the legs that were spread apart and a circle for the head. It also had two metal hand cuffs attached to it and two metal leg shackles. My hands and legs were tied to the structure and I stayed there for about five hours. It was a painful position that hurt my back. The interrogator whipped me while I was on the wall and shouted at me saying 'confess…confess’. I told him I wasn’t going to confess to anything I didn’t do. Later, another man entered the room and said: 'you look like you are a strong decent young man, confess and I will send you home’. When I refused to confess he banged my head against the table and called me son of a whore. He then took me to another small room.”
“At this point about nine people entered the small room. They were masked and were carrying batons. I was sitting on a chair and was not tied or blindfolded. Somebody then hit me with a taser, and then tasered me on my hand and back. I fell off the chair and could no longer breathe. I think they were scared to see I was unable to breathe and left the room quickly. A short while later I was taken to see a doctor. He examined me and said something in Hebrew which I didn’t understand. I was then blindfolded and hand cuffed and driven to the settlement of Etzion. They made me sit on the floor of the jeep and beat me on the way.”
“We arrived at Etzion at around 3:00 a.m. and I was interrogated again. Two interrogators questioned me; one introduced himself as 'Ibrahim’ and the other as 'Shawqi’. Ibrahim asked me if I wanted a cigarette, tea or coffee. He asked me if I wanted any food. He then said: 'why do you cause problems?’ Shawqi was in the room too. They made me sit on a very small metal stool for about two hours. The air-conditioning unit was on and it was very cold. Ibrahim made fun of me and told me if I confessed I would be sent home immediately. I did not confess. I was then taken to a cell.”
“At around 11:30 a.m. I was put in another military vehicle and taken to Ofer prison, near Ramallah. My hands and legs were shackled but I was not blindfolded. It didn’t matter much anyway as the part of the vehicle I was in had no windows. On the way I was given some sour cream and some sliced bread which I ate because I was very hungry. They also gave me some hot water which I drank because I was very thirsty. On arrival at Ofer I was made to strip down to my underwear and they made me crouch up and down four or five times. I was then taken to a cell where the prisoners prepared some food for me.”
“On Sunday I was taken to Ofer military court. At court I saw a lawyer for the first time. I showed the judge the marks on my face and back. My parents did not come to court because they were not notified in time. The judge said he would have released me immediately had my father been at court. Just at this moment a soldier entered the court and claimed I had hit him. The session was adjourned till Monday and then again to a later date. On the third court hearing I was sentenced for three-and-a-half months in prison and fined NIS 1,000 (about $270). I was also given a 10 month suspended sentence for three years for assaulting a soldier.”
“My mother was able to visit me four times while I was in prison. I was released on 2 July 2013, after my sentence was reduced. I have submitted a complaint to the authorities about the way I was treated but have not heard anything.”