|Date:||8 April 2019|
|Location:||Sa'ir, West Bank|
On 8 April 2019, a 16-year-old minor from Sa’ir 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.
I came home late at night and then chatted to my sister who was visiting. I knew Israeli soldiers were in our village at the time and I told my brother to wake me up if they came to our neighbourhood before I went to bed.
At around 2:30 a.m. my brother woke me up and told me soldiers were at our neighbour’s house. I looked out the window and saw about 10-15 military vehicles. Then I saw soldiers walking towards our house with their torch lights. At that point I realized they were coming to our house.
The soldiers banged at our front door and my father answered quickly. Four soldiers entered our home and asked to see my identity card and my father’s. Then the commander told me I had 10 minutes to get dressed because I was under arrest. He did not say why but he gave my father a document filled out in Hebrew with details about my arrest. They did not allow me to say good bye to my family and immediately took me downstairs.
Once outside many soldiers surrounded me and I was scared. One soldier tied my hands to the front with a single plastic tie which was tight. It caused my hands to swell and caused me a lot of pain. Then they blindfolded me and took me to the back of a jeep where I sat on a seat. But then a soldier grabbed me by my shirt and pushed me down and made me sit on the metal floor.
Inside the jeep a soldier hit me with his helmet and another kicked me on my legs. The jeep then drove towards a nearby military base where I was transferred to another jeep. There, a soldier tightened the tie even more and my hands turned blue and were very painful. The tie left marks on my wrists for a week.
After a short time I was taken to the police station in Etzion settlement where I had to walk for a long distance led by soldiers. I was taken to a room where I was tied to a chair. I was very uncomfortable and kept asking to go to the toilet so that they untie me from the chair. Each time I went to the toilet a soldier accompanied me to the toilet which was embarrassing for me. He also aimed his gun at me.
At some point I was taken for a medical examination. Then I was left outside and I managed to remove the blindfold because it was bothering me. An interrogator passed by and swore at me and at the doctor because I was not blindfolded. He called me “a son of a whore” and blindfolded me. At around 6:00 a.m. I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator told me he was from a Palestinian political faction and told me he was there to help me and in order for him to help me I had to tell him everything. He removed the tie and the blindfold and told me to be cooperative. Without informing me of my rights he wanted to know who I go to throw stones with and who I hang out with at night. Then he showed me pictures of my friends and asked me about them. He wanted me to confess against them. I told him I knew nothing about the boys in the photos.
The interrogator accused me of lying to him and blindfolded me again. He also tied my hands to the back and made me stand up. He told me he was not going to allow me to sit down until I confessed and until I gave him the names of the boys in the pictures he showed me. He also threatened to arrest my sister and mother if I did not confess. He then accused me of throwing stones on Route 60 and of pulling down a drone which was taking pictures of the boys who were throwing stones. I denied the accusations.
Half way through the interrogation he phoned a lawyer for me and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me not to confess and not to listen to what the interrogator said. The conversation lasted for less than a minute and the interrogator was in the room the whole time.
Towards the end of the interrogation the interrogator punched me in the head as if he was practicing boxing. The interrogation lasted for about four hours. Then I was taken to see another interrogator.
The second interrogator was calm. He removed the tie and the blindfold and asked me the same questions but his technique was different. He did not inform me of my rights and I denied all the accusations.
After the second interrogation I was taken to see a policeman who gave me details about the few hours before I was arrested. He told me I went home at midnight and that I went to the bathroom at 12:30 a.m. He also told me I stopped to speak to a friend outside the supermarket before going home. All the details he gave me scared me because I realised an informant was keeping an eye on me.
Then he showed me lots of documents in Hebrew and asked me to sign them but I refused to sign. He was upset and signed the documents himself. Then they took my photograph and fingerprints and then I was taken to a cell where I was strip searched. I was left there by myself for about five hours and 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 where I saw my father I was denied bail and the hearing was adjourned. I had about seven military court hearings. At the last hearing the court decided to release me in a plea bargain. My father had to pay a NIS 2,000 fine and I received a suspended sentence of six months in prison valid for three years. I accepted the plea bargain because it meant being released on the same day.
I spent 23 days in prison although it felt a lot longer. I was released on 1 May 2019 and I went home with my father. We arrived home at around midnight.