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Testimony: M.F.T.T.


Name: M.F.T.T.
Age: 14
Date: 24 April 2017
Location: An Nabi Saleh, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones

On 24 April 2017, a 14-year-old boy from An Nabi Saleh is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:30 a.m. and accused of throwing stones. He reports that the interrogator informed him that he had the right to silence but if he waived this right he would be sent home.

I went to bed at around 1:30 a.m. after watching a football match at the local coffee shop with some friends. At around 2:30 a.m. I woke up to the sound of someone telling me to get up. I looked up and saw three Israeli soldiers in military gear in my bedroom. One of the soldiers was masked. At first I thought I was dreaming but when I rubbed my eyes I realised it was for real. 
One of the soldiers pulled out a photo album and the masked soldier nodded indicating that they had come to arrest me. I got up and went to the living room where the rest of my family was. I saw about seven soldiers inside our home and many more were outside.
The soldiers checked the annex to my father’s identity card and then told my parents they wanted to arrest me. They showed my father a document in Hebrew and asked him to sign it but he refused.
I was then handcuffed with my hands in front of me and grabbed by the neck and taken outside. The handcuffs were not painful. My sister and mother tried to pull me away from the soldiers but they failed. I wanted to use the toilet but they did not allow me. Outside the house my mother brought me a jacket and trousers and the soldiers allowed me to put them on.
I was then taken to the back of a jeep where they covered my head with my hood and I sat on a helmet on the metal floor. The jeep drove to a nearby open area where an Israeli ambulance was waiting. A paramedic asked me some medical questions and I was taken back to the jeep which then drove to the police station in Binyamim settlement. At the entrance to Binyamin a soldier blindfolded me.
Then I was taken to a small room where I sat on the floor until around 2:00 p.m. when I was taken for interrogation. During this time a lawyer came to the room and talked to me. He told me to remain silent because if I did I would be sent home. He told me the interrogator would try to scare me to make me talk but that I should not be scared and remain silent. During this time I was not given any food but I had some water and I was allowed to use the toilet. When I tried to fall asleep a soldier would call me and wake me up.
There were three interrogators in the room. One of them removed my handcuffs and gave me something to eat and told me I had the right to see a lawyer and the right for my parents to attend the interrogation. I later found out that my parents came to Binyamin but they were sent back and told they were not allowed to attend my interrogation because I was accused of a security offence.
The interrogator also told me I had the right to remain silent but if I did speak he would send me home. Then he asked me about an incident in the village when a military jeep was stoned. He wanted to know who the person was who opened the jeep’s door and tried to attack the soldier. I told him I wanted to remain silent until a lawyer was present. When I said this he raised his voice at me and told me to talk. He repeated the same questions and asked me to identify some boys he showed me in a picture taken during the same incident. I insisted on my right to remain silent and told him I wasn’t going to speak. I had learned this from my father who told me if I ever get arrested I should remain silent and refrain from giving any information without a lawyer.
Then he typed up something in Hebrew and asked me to sign it but I refused. I also learned not to sign documents from my father. The interrogation lasted for about an hour and the other two interrogators tried to urge me to answer the questions. I did not confess to anything and did not give any information or names.
At around 5:30 p.m. I was taken to Ofer prison where I was strip searched and taken into Section 13. I had dinner and went to bed because I was exhausted.
I had my first military court hearing on the 26April 2017. My mother and sister attended and my lawyer too. The hearing was adjourned. I had about 18 military court hearings which my family attended except for one.
During this time I was taken for interrogation two more times. The first was on the 28April and the same interrogator repeated the same questions and I told him I wanted to remain silent. The second interrogation was by an intelligence officer on the 29 April. The intelligence officer repeated the same questions but he was more aggressive and raised his voice at me. He wanted me to answer his questions and I told him I wanted to remain silent. At one point he took out his pistol and put on the table in front of me and left the room. All three interrogations were audio-visually recorded.
After many hearings the prosecutor requested a prison sentence of 12 months or a fine of 12,000 shekels for throwing stones at soldiers. My parents told the military court they were not going to pay this amount to release me. Then I was offered a plea bargain of six months in prison but my lawyer was able to reduce this to three months and a fine of 3,000 shekels fine in addition to a suspended sentence of six months suspended for three years. I accepted the plea bargain because I wanted to get out of prison as quickly as possible. My lawyer told me if I rejected the plea bargain they were going to send me back for more interrogation and keep me in prison. He recommended that I accept the bargain and I did.
I spent my prison sentence at Ofer prison. During this time I studied Arabic, English and mathematics. My parents did not visit me in prison because they were not issued a visiting permit in time.
I was released on 19 July 2017 at around 5:00 p.m. My parents and relatives waited for me outside Ofer but I was released at Beit Sira checkpoint and my lawyer informed my family and they took me home. All my friends and relatives came to our house to welcome me home and my mother cooked a nice meal.