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Testimony: S.M.M.S.


Name: S.M.M.S.
Age: 16
Date: 24 February 2019
Location: Al Khader, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing Molotoc cocktails

On 24 February 2019, a 16-year-old minor from Al Khader was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:00 a.m. He reports being interrogated without first being informed of his legal rights including his right to consult with a lawyer.

I woke up at 2:00 a.m. to the sound of Israeli soldiers smashing windows and breaking our front door. About 15 soldiers entered our home. They asked to see our identity cards then left the house and went to my relatives’ apartments in the same building. Then they came back to our apartment and asked for the identity cards again. 
The soldiers then gathered all the males in the building in one room and took my uncle aside to the living room and started to chat with him. They told him they wanted to arrest me. They did not say why and did not give my uncle any documents. 
I was taken outside and the soldiers led me towards the main road. Then they sat me on the bonnet of a military jeep where they searched me. Then they tied my hands to the back with three plastic ties: one on each wrist and another connecting the two. The ties were tight and painful. Then they blindfolded me. I was then thrown on the metal floor of a jeep but a female soldier helped me stand up and sat me on a seat.
Later I was taken out of the jeep and led to an open field where I was left in the cold weather for about an hour. Then the soldiers made me sit on the bonnet of the jeep and they swore at my mother and called her “a whore”. Then I was taken back to the jeep where soldiers beat me on the back with their guns. I was left in the jeep by myself for about an hour and then the jeep drove someplace where I was given a medical examination. 
After the medical examination I was taken to the police station in Etzion settlement where I was left on a chair in a room with lots of soldiers around me for about two hours. I was given some water and I was allowed to use the toilet. Then I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator took me behind a shipping container where he slapped me and called me “a son of a whore” and accused me of throwing pipe bombs and Molotov cocktails at soldiers. Then he took me inside a room where he untied me and removed the blindfold.  He wore civilian clothes and two other interrogators were in the room with him. He told me I had the right to remain silent. Then he started to question me. 
He raised his voice at me and told me other boys had confessed against me. He spoke in a loud voice and brought his face very close to mine. He pulled out his pistol and placed it on the table in front of me. Then he aimed it at me and threatened to shoot me if I did not confess. He also told me he was going to let me rot in prison if I did not confess. 
Half way through the interrogation he phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me not to be afraid and not to confess to anything I did not do. Then he told me to take care of myself and hung up. The interrogator remained in the room during the conversation which lasted for less than a minute. 
The interrogation lasted for about three hours. At the end the interrogator showed me documents in Hebrew and asked me to sign them and I signed one but refused to sign the others. 
Then I was taken to another room to be interrogated by another interrogator. This one was calm. He told me it was in my best interest to confess and that if I did he was going to give me a reduced sentence. He spoke to me without informing me of my rights.
He questioned me for about an hour and showed me photographs and wanted me to give names of people in the photographs. I did not confess and did not give any names. 
After the interrogation I was strip searched and taken to a cell where I waited for about five hours. Then I was taken to Ofer prison where I was strip searched again before being taken to section 13.
The following day I was taken to Ofer military court. My lawyer was there. I was denied bail. I went back to prison. The following day I was taken for another interrogation at Etzion police station but I was never interrogated and was taken back to Ofer. I arrived there at around 6:00 p.m.
I had about 12 military court hearings. On the last one I was sentenced in a plea bargain to six months in prison and fined NIS 2,000. I was also given a suspended sentence valid for five years. I accepted the plea bargain because I received a reduced sentence and my lawyer advised me to accept it. I was sentenced on the basis of testimonies by collaborators and some photographs. 
I spent my sentence at Ofer prison. My family visited me four times and I spent my time sleeping and exercising. I also attended Arabic and Hebrew classes. I was released on 4 August 2019.