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Testimony: J.R.J.B.


Name: J.R.J.B.
Age: 12
Date: 11 January 2017
Location: Al 'Arrub camp, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones

On 11 January 2017, a 12-year-old minor from Al 'Arrub refugee camp was detained by Israeli under cover soldiers at 10:00 a.m. during clashes and accused of throwing stones. He reports ill treatment and being denied his basic legal rights under Israeli military law. He reports being sentenced to 17 days in prison and fined NIS 3,000.

I was walking home after a school exam at around 10:00 a.m. As I approached the area near the cemetery I saw a group of boys throwing stones at Israeli soldiers. Then I saw three men in civilian clothes suddenly appear from the cemetery. They approached me and one of them started to beat me and then pushed me to the ground. It was then that I realised they were Israeli Special Forces in civilian clothes.
One of the men tied my hands behind my back with three plastic ties: one on each wrist and one connecting the two. The ties were painful. Then he pointed a gun to my head and told me not to move. I was then blindfolded and dragged to a nearby military jeep. When I was dragged to the jeep they beat me hard all over my body and I was terrified. They pushed me inside the jeep and made me kneel on the metal floor.
The jeep drove for about 10 minutes to the police station in Etzion settlement. On arrival at Etzion I was taken to a courtyard where I waited for about 30 minutes and then I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator started to question me while I was still tied and blindfolded and without informing me of any rights. He accused me of throwing stones at soldiers. He was aggressive and slapped and kicked me during the interrogation. He removed the blindfold and made me kneel on the floor for about 30 minutes and verbally abused me saying I was "a son of a whore". Then he asked me for names of boys who were throwing stones near the cemetery and wanted me to confess to throwing stones. I denied the accusation.  The interrogator did not ask me to sign any documents.
After the interrogation my photograph and fingerprints were taken. I was then taken back to the courtyard. Then soldiers took me to a police car where I sat on a seat. The car drove for about 30 minutes to the settlement of Kiryat Arba.
On arrival at Kiryat Arba I was put in a courtyard and I remained there from around 2:00 p.m. until around 6:00 a.m. the next day. During this time I was allowed to use the toilet but I was not given any food. I could not sleep because it was very cold. At around 6:00 a.m. the following day I was put in a police car and driven to Ofer prison, near Jerusalem. The journey took around 30 minutes.
On arrival at Ofer I was strip searched and taken to a waiting room near the military court. Later I was taken into the military court. My parents did not attend the hearing because they were not informed but a lawyer was there. I did not understand what went on in the military court except that the hearing was adjourned to the following week. After the military court hearing I was taken to Section 13 in Ofer prison.
My parents attended the second hearing. Two soldiers testified that they saw me throwing stones. The lawyer told my father he was going to agree to a plea bargain with the prosecutor under which I would be sentenced to 17 days in prison in return for confessing to throwing stones. I told the military judge I did not throw stones but the judge told me that soldiers don’t lie. He told me he was going to release me from prison on my birthday so that I remember the day and not throw stones ever again.
My father accepted the plea bargain which also included a fine of NIS 3,000. The judge told my father he was going to put him in prison if I am ever arrested again and that he would revoke his work permit and ban him from working in Israel. I was released on 27 January 2017, and I went home with my parents.