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Testimony: U.A.A.T.


Name: U.A.A.T.
Age: 15
Date: 3 January 2017
Location: Beit Fajjar, West Bank
Accusation: Weapon possession

On 3 January 2017, a 15-year-old youth from Beit Fajjar is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 4:00 a.m. and accused of possessing a pipe bomb. He reports being told by the interrogator that remaining silent would be interpreted as guilt by a military court.

I woke up at around 4:00 a.m. when an Israeli soldier entered my bedroom and woke me up. I was terrified when I saw him over my head. The soldier, who was the commander, then asked me about a pipe bomb and wanted to know where it was. He questioned me in the bedroom for about 15 minutes and I was by myself with the commander and some soldiers. He only had questions about the pipe bomb and I told him I had no idea what he was talking about. The commander lost his temper and started to shout at me calling me a "lying son of a whore". Then a soldier beat me very hard.
Then the soldiers took me outside without giving my parents any documents. They told my father they wanted to question me about the pipe which they claimed I had.
Once outside the house they blindfolded me and tied my hands to the front with one plastic tie which was tight. I was then put in the back of a jeep where they made me sit on the metal floor between the soldiers’ legs and on top of other boys they had arrested.
The jeep drove for about 15 minutes to the police station in Etzion settlement. At Etzion I was taken to a room where I sat on the floor together with five other boys. The room was very small, not more than four square meters and we sat there for about four hours. Then a doctor examined me. Then I was taken to a courtyard where I sat on the ground until around 2:00 p.m. when I was taken for interrogation.
There were three interrogators a camera and tape recorder. One of the interrogators removed my blindfold and the tie but about 30 minutes later he put them both back on. In the beginning he showed me a document which said I had the right to remain silent and the right to consult with a lawyer. He also told me remaining silent would be interpreted by the court as guilt of the accusations against me. He asked me to sign the document and I did. One of the interrogators called my father and told him I was going to appear in the military court at Ofer.
The interrogators accused me of possessing a pipe bomb and I denied the accusation. One of them told me there were confessions against me by other boys. When I denied the accusation one of the interrogators punched me on the shoulder and told me I was "a fucking son of a whore". Then he told me I would be convicted whether I confessed or not and that it wasn’t going to make much of a difference.
The interrogation lasted for about four hours and I felt it went on for too long and I was worried they might beat me again so I confessed to having a pipe bomb which I gave to another boy. The interrogator printed out my statement in Hebrew and asked me to sign it but I refused to sign because I wasn’t sure it was identical to what I had said as I don’t read Hebrew.
Then they took my photograph and fingerprints and strip searched me and took me to a courtyard where I sat on the ground for about an hour. Then I was taken to a cell where they removed the tie and the blindfold and I spent two nights there.
After two days I was transferred to Ofer prison where I was strip searched again and taken to Section 13. On the same day I was taken to Ofer military court. My parents did not attend because they were not informed but a lawyer was there and the hearing was adjourned.
I had about 12 military court hearings which my parents attended and I was allowed to speak to them. In the end I was convicted of possessing a pipe bomb based on my confessions and I was sentenced to four months in prison, fined 2,000 shekels and 18 months sentence suspended for five years. I spent six weeks in Ofer before being transferred to Megiddo prison, inside Israel.
I was released on 18 April 2017 at Salem and I went home with my parents. In prison I did not study.