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Testimony: S.M.I.S.


Name: S.M.I.S.
Age: 16
Date of incident: 6 March 2016
Location: Beit Fajjar, West Bank
Accusation: Weapon possession

On 6 March 2016, a 16-year-old youth from Beit Fajjar presented himself at the police station in Etzion settlement after his father received a telephone summons the day before. He was interrogated without being informed of his legal rights.

On 5 March 2016, an Israeli intelligence officer phoned my father and told him to bring me to the police station in Etzion settlement the following day. My father was busy and so my mother accompanied me the following day at around 10:00 a.m. The policeman did not allow my mother to enter the settlement and they took me inside by myself and immediately took me for interrogation.
In the beginning the interrogator did not tie or blindfold me. He did not inform me of any rights. He accused me of throwing a pipe bomb at soldiers and of possessing weapons and burning tires. He also told me five people had confessed against me. He interrogated me in sessions from around 10:00 a.m. until around 5:00 p.m. Each session took about an hour.
After the first session the interrogator handcuffed me to the front. The handcuffs were not tight. He interrogated me intensively. He showed me pictures of other young men from the village and wanted me to confess that they threw stones at soldiers. I told him I did not know the men. He kept repeating the same accusations over and over again. In the end I confessed because I was under tremendous pressure.
During the interrogation he allowed me to use the toilet and to drink water but I was not given any food. In the end he printed out my statement in Hebrew and asked me to sign it but I refused to sign. Then he took my picture and fingerprints. I was then strip-searched before being taken to a cell where the handcuffs were removed. I spent three nights at Etzion. On the third day I was transferred to Ofer prison where I was strip searched again and taken into Section 13.
On the same day I was taken to Ofer military court. My parents did not attend the hearing because they were not notified but my lawyer was there and the hearing was adjourned. I had around eight more military court hearings which my mother attended and I was allowed to speak to her.
On 28 September 2016, I was sentenced for 13 months in prison. This was a harsh sentence because of the seriousness of the accusations and because I had to serve a suspended sentence from a previous imprisonment.
I spent most of my prison sentence at Ofer with the exception of two-and-a-half months which I spent at Megiddo prison inside Israel. The most difficult part was when I was transferred from Megiddo to Ofer court. The trip was exhausting and took a long time. In prison I did not study and I was released from Megiddo on 8 March 2017.