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Testimony: B.Y.M.H.


Name: B,Y.M.H.
Age: 15
Date: 29 December 2019
Location: Al Arrub, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones

On 29 December 2019, a 15-year-old minor from Al’ Arrub refugee camp was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:30 a.m. He reports being interrogated without first being informed of his right to silence or consulting with a lawyer. 

My cousin, who lives downstairs, woke us up at around 2:30 a.m. and told us Israeli soldiers were in the neighbourhood asking for me. Shortly afterwards I heard loud banging at our front door. 
About 10 soldiers entered our apartment with more outside. The commander told my father they wanted to take me for questioning. They did not give my parents any documents.
The soldiers took me outside where they tied my hands to the front with three plastic ties: one on each wrist and another connecting the two. They were tight and painful and left marks on my wrists. They also blindfolded me.
I was then taken to a troop carrier which drove me to the police station in Etzion settlement. I sat on a seat on the way. 
On arrival at the police station I was left in a shipping container from around 4:00 a.m. until around 9:00 a.m. During this time I was given a medical examination. At around 9:00 a.m. I was taken for interrogation.  
The interrogator asked me how I was and then accused me of throwing stones at soldiers. I denied the accusation and told him I had no time for such things as I worked at a bakery. The interrogator did not inform me of any rights in the beginning.
About half-way through the interrogation the interrogator handed me a telephone and told me to speak to a lawyer. The lawyer told me to take care of myself and not to be scared. He also told me not to speak and whatever the interrogator says I should remain silent. The conversation lasted for about two minutes. 
Then the interrogator continued to question me, but this time he was very aggressive. He pulled his gun out and placed it on the table in front of him. Then he showed me some photographs of clashes. He moved his gun on the table and asked me whether I was going to confess or not. He raised his voice and asked me the same question again. I told him I had nothing to confess to. He swore at me and cursed my father and mother.
Eventually I confessed to throwing one stone at a military jeep from a distance of 50 meters which missed. After I confessed the interrogator showed me a document written in Hebrew and asked me to sign it but I refused to sign something I did not understand.
Then I was questioned by another interrogator who asked me to say either yes or no. He did not inform me of my rights. He too showed me a document written in Hebrew and asked me to sign it but I refused to sign. He questioned me for about an hour and was calm and gave me water to drink.
After the second interrogation I was taken to a cell where I was searched in my boxer shorts. The following day I was taken to Ofer military court. 
My parents did not attend the first hearing in the military court because they were not informed that it was taking place. The military judge refused to release me on bail and the hearing was adjourned. 
After court I was taken to Ofer prison where I was strip searched and asked to crouch up and down while naked. 
In all I had three military court hearings. At the last hearing I was sentenced in a plea bargain to one month in prison and fined NIS 1,000. I was also given a suspended sentence. I accepted the plea bargain because my sentence was reduced from three to one month and the fine was reduced from NIS 5,000.
I was given early release and was released on 14 January 2020. I did not have any family visits in prison because the permit to visit takes at least two months to be issued. When I got home my father told me his work permit had been revoked on the day I was arrested. This caused additional stress in the family.
 This testimony was produced with the financial support of the German Federal Foreign Office. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Military Court Watch.