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Home » Children »

Testimony: R.M.A.T.

 

Name:  R.M.A.T.
Age:  14
Date:  1 April 2019
Location:  Deir Nidham, West Bank
Accusation:  Throwing stones
 
On 1 April 2019, a 14-year-old minor from Deir Nidham is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 1:00 p.m. He reports being interrogated without first being informed of his right to silence or his right to consult with a lawyer.
 
At around 1:00 p.m. I was picking almonds in my village when a group of Israeli soldiers in civilian clothes started to chase me. I was terrified because I was not paying attention to them and I thought they were people from the village. 
 
I ran away as fast as I could but one of them grabbed me by the shoulder and started to beat and kick me all over my body and the others joined him. They pushed me to the ground and forced me to sit. They swore at me and called me “a son of a whore”. Then one of them tied my hands to the front with three plastic ties: one on each wrist and another connecting the two. The ties were painful, and my left wrist hurt for a long time. He also blindfolded me. I was then led towards the valley where a military jeep was waiting. 
 
The soldiers sat me down by the jeep and removed the blindfold and one of them asked me how I was doing. Then he asked me about my brother and wanted to know where he was. I told him I did not know. He accused me of lying and pushed me into the back of the jeep and made me sit on a metal box in the middle. The jeep drove to the nearby settlement of Halamish. 
 
When we arrived at the settlement I was made to sit on a road. A security guard at the settlement asked me how many security cameras I had broken and accused me of threatening the security of the settlement. He brought his laptop and showed me a satellite image of my village and asked me to point to our house. When I refused, he pointed to one house and asked me whether it was our house and I said no. Then he accused me of throwing stones and I denied it. He then showed me a photograph of my brother sitting by the road in our village doing nothing and told me he wanted to arrest him. I acknowledged it was my brother but I told him he was not doing anything wrong and there was no reason to arrest him. At no time did anyone inform me that I had any rights.
 
Then I was taken to the jeep which took me to a nearby military base. They sat me down in a room for about an hour and nobody talked to me. Then the area commander, whose name is Amer, came and accused me of throwing stones. He did not inform me of my rights. When I denied it he accused me and my brother of throwing stones. About an hour later I was taken to the police station in Binyamin settlement.
 
At the police station they removed the ties and I was left on a chair in a room for about 4-5 hours. My back hurt from sitting so long and I could not sleep. In the evening I was taken for interrogation.
 
A female interrogator questioned me. She was wearing a police uniform. Without informing me of my rights she accused me of throwing stones and of taking part in protests. I denied the accusation. A soldier who was standing beside her was translating. She raised her voice at me when I denied the accusation and wanted me to give her names of the other boys who were with me. Then she called a lawyer and put him on speaker phone and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me to remain silent. I asked him whether the interrogator would beat me if I remained silent and he said no. The conversation lasted for less than a minute and the interrogator was listening.
 
Then the interrogator repeated the accusation. I remained silent and did not answer. The interrogation lasted for about an hour and in the end I was given document in Hebrew to sign and I signed without understanding what was written. 
 
After the interrogation I was taken to Ofer prison where I was searched in my clothes before being taken to section 13. I could not sleep that night.
 
Two days later I was taken to Ofer military court. The court did not inform my parents about the hearing and so they did not attend. The hearing was adjourned. 
 
In all I had about eight military court hearings and at the last one, which was on 29 April 2019, the military judge decided to release me on the same day. He sentenced me in a plea bargain to one month in prison and a fine of NIS 500. I also received a suspended sentence of six months in prison valid for five years. I accepted the plea bargain because it meant I could go home the same day.