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Testimony: Q.A.Z.A.


Name: Q.A.Z.A.
Age: 16
Date: 18 March 2018
Location: Al Mughayyir, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones

On 18 March 2018, a 16-year-old youth from Al Mughayyir is arrested by Israeli soldiers after they enter his bedroom at 3:00 a.m. He reports being informed of his right to silence and his right to consult with a lawyer.

Around 6 Israeli soldiers stormed into my bedroom at around 3:00 a.m. I woke up and the soldiers standing over my bed. They came with some villagers who showed them the way. They told me to put my shoes on because I was under arrest but did not give me time to get dressed.
I was blindfolded and tied with my hands behind my back with one plastic tie while I was still in bed. The tie was not painful. Then they dragged me outside the house in my shorts and undershirt. 
The soldiers showed my father a photo of clashes on the main road used by settlers and then gave him a document saying they did not cause any damage and did not hurt me during the arrest. They made my father sign the document but did not give him a copy. The document did not say anything about my arrest; where they were taking and why, or anything about my rights. 
The soldiers led me on foot for about  3 k.m. before putting me in a vehicle where I sat on the floor. On the way to the vehicle soldiers swore at me and called me “ a son of a whore” and a “brother of a whore”. A soldier held my arms while tied and pushed me forward until my head almost touched the ground and pulled me up again. He did this a couple of times. Another soldier kicked me on the legs and back and caused me pain. 
I was taken to a nearby military base where I was left outside while tied and blindfolded for about 2-3 hours. During this time soldiers scratched my upper arm with their guns and hit me on the head with the back of a gun. My head swelled. Then I was examined by a doctor who removed the blindfold and put it back on when he was done. 
Later I was taken to the back of a jeep where I sat on the metal floor. I asked for some water and a soldier poured his warm soup on me. They transferred me from one jeep to another a couple of times before I arrived at the police station in Binyamin settlement at around 4:00 p.m.
At Binyamin I waited in a room with 3 other boys and I was not given any food or drink. I was allowed to use the toilet and a soldier removed the tie and then put it back on. We asked for water and they finally brought half a cup of water for the three of us to share. I was tied and blindfolded the whole time and I could not sleep. Shortly after I had arrived I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator was in police uniform. He removed the blindfold and gave me a document about my right to silence. Then he called a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me not to confess but if I wanted to speed things up I could confess to one photograph of me during clashes on Route 458, which was the photograph shown to my father.
Then the interrogator accused me of throwing stones on Route 458 and of smashing settler cars. He gave me a date in January of this year. When I denied the accusation he banged the table and became angry. Then he showed me a photograph during the incident he mentioned and accused me of taking part. I denied the accusation. He interrogated me for about 3 hours. He repeated the accusation over and over again and wanted me to confess but I did not. 
Then the interrogator left and another one came in. He questioned me for about an hour. He did not inform me of my rights because the document about the right to silence was still on the table. This one wanted me to give him names of boys and young men seen in the images but I refused to give any names. He told me all the other boys involved in the incident had already confessed but I did not believe him. Then he told me I was never ever going to be allowed into Israel, not to work or even visit.
At the end of the interrogation he printed out my statement in Arabic; I saw it come out of the printer. He also printed out a Hebrew version and asked me to sign it but I refused. I asked him to show me the Arabic version but he refused and told me I would see it in court. 
I was taken back into the waiting room where I waited until the following night while the other boys were interrogated and then I was taken to Ofer prison. I arrived at Ofer on 20 March 2018,  at around 1:00 a.m. At Ofer I was strip searched and taken to Section 13 where I ate for the first time since I was arrested.
Some days later I was taken to Ofer military court. My parents did not attend because they were not informed and the hearing was adjourned. I had about 5 military court hearings. At the last hearing, which was about 3 months after my arrest, a pleas bargain was offered to me.  My lawyer convinced my father to accept the plea bargain where I would confess to throwing stones on Route 458 and be sentenced to 5 months in prison. In return the judge would agree to sentence my cousins to 3 months in prison instead of 6. My father accepted the plea bargain because he wanted to help my cousins. I was also fined 2,000 shekels and was given a suspended sentence of one year in prison valid for 5 years. 
I spent the entire prison sentence at Ofer where I attended classes but they were useless. They gave us crayons to draw and taught us multiplication. My family did not visit me in prison because the family visits coincided with my court hearings. I was released from Ofer on 3 August 2018, about 2 weeks earlier because of good conduct.