|Date:||26 June 2019|
|Location:||Zeita, West Bank|
On 26 June 2019, a 15-year-old minor from Zeita was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 1:00 a.m. He reports being interrogated multiple times without always being informed of his legal rights prior to interrogation.
A week before I was arrested my mother received a phone call from the Area Commander telling her I should go to his office for a “chat”. He called again three days later with the same message. I consulted with my older brother and asked him whether I should go and he told me not to. He said if the commander really needed me he would deliver a written summons so I did not go.
On the day of my arrest soldiers blew off the front door using explosives. It was at around 1:00 a.m. They entered our home while we were still in bed. I opened my eyes and found soldiers over my head. I got up and the soldiers pushed me into the corner. The commander told me he had sent after me and wanted to know why I did not show up. Then he told my mother he wanted to arrest me but did not give her any reasons or documents.
Then a soldier tied my hands behind my back with a single plastic tie and tightened it hard. It caused me pain and left marks on my wrists for a week. Then he blindfolded me and took me outside. Once outside I was put in the back of a military jeep where I sat on the metal floor.
I was taken to Megiddo prison, inside Israel, where I was strip searched. The following day I was taken for interrogation at Salem military base.
The interrogator was a policeman but in civilian clothes. As soon as I entered his room he told me I had the right to call my mother and tell her I was ok. Then he phoned a lawyer for me and allowed me to speak to him. Then, without informing me of my right to silence he told me someone had confessed against me and that my file was ready and complete. He told me he needed a confession from me. He named the person who confessed against me.
He accused me of taking a gas canister to an area near the Wall with the intension of blowing it up. I denied the accusation. He threatened to lock me up in prison for a long time and subject me to a harsher interrogation if I did not confess. He questioned me for about an hour and in the end he wanted me to sign a document written in Hebrew but I refused to sign. After the interrogation, which lasted for about 45 minutes, I was taken back to prison.
The following day I was taken to Salem military court. My detention was extended and the hearing was adjourned. The following day I was taken for another interrogation. The interrogator did not inform me of my rights. He questioned me about the same accusation and wanted me to confess but I did not. He asked me to sign documents written in Hebrew and I refused to sign.
Two days later the same thing happened. I was questioned again without being informed of my rights. I was asked to sign a document in Hebrew and I refused to sign.
I had about eight military court hearings and at the last one I was sentenced in a plea bargain to six months in prison, fined NIS 2,000 and given a suspended sentence valid for 5 years. This was based on the confession obtained from the other boy. I was also told there was video footage of a fire by the wall. I accepted the plea bargain because my lawyer advised me to. He told me I would be sentenced to one year in prison if I rejected the plea bargain on offer.
I spent the whole time at Megiddo prison. My family visited me twice a month. I was released on 5 December 2019 and I went home with my brother and some friends who had come to meet me. I arrived home at around 10:00 p.m.
This testimony was produced with the financial support of the German Federal Foreign Office. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Military Court Watch.