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Testimony: M.Y.M.D.


Name: M.Y.M.D.
Age: 16
Date: 11 March 2019
Location: Qalqilya, West Bank
Accusation: Knife possesion 

On 11 March 2019, a 16-year-old minor from Qalqiliya is arrested at 2:00 p.m. at a military checkpoint in possession of a fruit knife. He reports being interrogated without first being informed of his legal rights. 

I was at an Israeli military checkpoint when the metal detector went off and soldiers started to shout at me. It was around 2:00 p.m. The soldiers told me to step aside and turn around. A soldier searched me and found a fruit knife in my pocket which I had forgotten was there. I use the knife when I help my father in the vegetable shop where he works.
The soldiers immediately took me to a room where they blindfolded me, handcuffed my hands to the front and shackled my legs. The also connected my hands to my legs with a chain. The soldiers swore at me and called me “a son of a whore”. 
At around 9:00 p.m. I was taken to Ariel settlement for interrogation. They took me in a jeep where I sat on a seat in the back. At Ariel I was taken to a room where I waited for about 15 minutes and then I was taken into the interrogation room. It was around 10:30 p.m.
The interrogator was wearing a police uniform. He removed the blindfold and the handcuffs and shackles and asked me what I was doing at the checkpoint. Then he asked me about the knife and I told him I used it at work and I had forgotten it in my pocket. He did not inform me of my rights and I did not speak to a lawyer.
He repeated the question about the knife and I gave him the same answer. He shouted at me when he did not like my answer and repeated the question in an aggressive tone of voice. He accused me of planning to stab a soldier but I denied the accusation. He questioned me for about 30 minutes and I did not confess. 
Then he showed me documents written in Hebrew and asked me to sign them but I refused to sign and asked for an Arabic translation. Then he gave it to me in Arabic and I signed it because it was identical to what I had said. Then they took my fingerprints and photograph and took me to Huwwara military base. 
At Huwwara I was searched in my underwear shorts before being taken to a cell. I spent one night at Huwwara. I was not given any food or drink. The next day I was taken to Megiddo prison inside Israel where I was again searched in my underwear. I arrived at around noon and the other prisoners gave me some food.
The following day I had a military court hearing. My parents attended and the hearing was adjourned because there was no lawyer to represent me. I had three military court hearings and at the last one I was sentenced in a plea bargain to three months in prison and a fine of NIS 2,000. I was also given a suspended sentence of three months valid for three years. My lawyer accepted the plea bargain on my behalf.
During the prison sentence I was transferred to another prison because I had an argument with a prison guard. As punishment they made me sign a document giving up my right to a family visit. I left school about a year ago when I was arrested the first time because I did not want to repeat my class. 
I was released on 28 May 2019 and I went home with my father. Since my release I don’t have much to do; I go to bed at 4:00 a.m. and I sleep most of the day.