|Date:||25 April 2020|
|Location:||Ta'amreh, West Bank|
On 25 April 2020, a 16-year-old minor from Ta'amreh was arrested by Israeli soldiers from home at 4:30 a.m. He was held in detention for 12-months without charge or trial under administrative detention orders.
I woke up at around 4:30 a.m. when I heard somebody breaking open our front door with some sort of a device. My father and brother went to see what was going on and found 10 Israeli soldiers in our hallway. They did not knock or wait for us to open the door. More soldiers were waiting outside.
The commander asked my father for me and my father pointed at me. Then the commander told my father he wanted to have "a chat" with me for "five minutes" and would then bring me back home. He did not give my father any documents.
I was then taken outside where I was blindfolded and my hands were tied behind my back with two plastic ties on top of each other. The ties were very tight and painful. Then they took me to the back of a military jeep and made me sit on the metal floor between the soldiers’ feet. The jeep drove me to a nearby military base where I was left outside until around 10:00 a.m.
At around 10:00 a.m. I was driven to a police station inside Israel where I was left in a small cell which measured about two metres by two metres. They removed the ties and the blindfold and I was left in the windowless cell for six days. I could not sleep and I lost my appetite and I was treated like an animal by the guards. A doctor tested me for Corona. The light was on 24 hours and I did not know day from night. On the sixth day they tied my hands and I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator removed the ties and asked me how I was. Then he handed me a telephone and told me I could speak to a lawyer. The lawyer told me not to worry and that the authorities had no evidence against me and, god willing, I would be sent home in two days. The conversation lasted a few minutes and the interrogator was listening. Then the interrogator told me I had the right to remain silent but if I had anything to say I could say it.
The interrogator started by telling me I was a trouble maker. I told him how could that possibly be when I had just been released from prison 20 days earlier, 14 days of which I was in Quarantine and did not leave my room. I told him even if I wanted to cause trouble I did not have the time.
Then he accused me of incitement on Facebook but when he opened my Facebook page he did not find anything. He also accused me of being in contact with people from Gaza. I denied the accusation. Then he threatened to arrest my mother and the rest of my family if I did not confess. Then two other interrogators joined him. One was very aggressive and occasionally screamed in my face and made sounds like a wild animal. Then he told me he was going to issue me with an administrative detention order.
The interrogation lasted for about two hours and at the end I was shown a document written in Hebrew and told to sign it. I signed the document without knowing what it said.
After the interrogation I was taken to Megiddo prison, inside Israel, where I was strip searched and then I was taken to the quarantine section.
The following day I had a military court hearing via video link. My parents did not attend the hearing because they were not informed about it. During the hearing I was handed an administrative detention order for six months. I spent the six months in Megiddo.
When my six-month detention was about to end and I was getting ready to go home I had another military court hearing and I was given another Administrative Detention order for six months. That was on 25 October 2020. I was devastated as I was looking forward to going home.
During these 12 months I had one family visit, but I was allowed to make phone calls once every two weeks. I was released on 24 April 2021 at Salem checkpoint and I went home with my uncle and his friend. I arrived home at around midnight.
I found the first six months very hard and I did not get used to being back in prison easily. Administrative detention is a very harsh punishment because I was not tried and no evidence was presented against me. I missed my family and wanted so badly to go back to my school.
This testimony was produced with the financial support of the German Federal Foreign Office. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Military Court Watch.