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Testimony: O.A.A.N.


Name: O.A.A.N.
Age: 14
Date: 2 October 2017
Location: Al 'Arrub, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones

On 2 October 2017, a 14-year-old boy from Al 'Arrub refugee camp is arrested by Israeli soldiers while standing near a military watchtower. He reports being interrogated without being informed of his legal rights.

I was standing at the entrance to the refugee camp where I live opposite the Israeli military watchtower. It was around 7:30 p.m. All of a sudden three soldiers grabbed me. 
The soldiers immediately tied my hands behind my back with two plastic ties on top of each other. The ties were very tight and painful. They also blindfolded me.
The soldiers then took me inside the military watchtower without any explanation. Inside the watchtower a soldier accused me of throwing stones and I denied it. Soon my father came to the watchtower and spoke to me. He told me to take care of myself and not to worry.
About two-and-a-half hours later I was put in the back of a military jeep where I sat on a seat. The jeep drove to the police station in the settlement of Kiryat Arba. Inside the jeep the soldiers slapped me on the face and swore at me calling my mother and sister “whores”. We arrived at Kiryat Arba at around 1:00 a.m. and I was immediately taken for interrogation.
As soon as I entered the room the interrogator asked me whether my father had hired a lawyer and I told him I did not know. Then he called my father and asked him whether he had hired a lawyer. When my father said no the interrogator hung up. 
Then the interrogator accused me of throwing stones and burning tires without informing me of my rights and without removing the ties or the blindfold. I denied the accusation. Then he showed me some photographs and told me soldiers had testified against me. Still I denied the accusation. 
The interrogator questioned me for about three hours and kept repeating the same accusation. At times he was angry. He swore at me and called me a “son of a whore”. He threatened if I did not confess he was going to shoot me. During this time I kept asking him to remove the blindfold and the ties but he did not remove them until the last 30 minutes. 
The interrogator wore civilian clothes and had a gun on his side. He had a tape recorder on his desk. He put his hand on his gun in a threatening gesture. He also threatened to lock me up in solitary confinement for my entire life. 
At the end of the interrogation the interrogator showed me documents in Hebrew and asked me to sign them. When I asked him to explain the documents he told me they were insignificant and I had to sign them. In the end I signed without understanding what they said.
After the interrogation I was taken to a vehicle which drove first to the police station in Etzion settlement and then back to Kityat Arba. Back at Kiryat Arba the soldiers ate some pizza and then I was driven back to Etzion. 
On the way back to Etzion the vehicle stopped at the entrance to Al 'Arrub and I was transferred to a troop carrier and a soldier started to question. He did not inform me of any rights. He slapped and beat me. Then I was transferred to a jeep which took me to Etzion police station. We arrived back at Etzion at around 3:00 a.m. where we waited outside by the gate for about an hour.
Once inside the police station I was strip searched and taken to a cell where I slept for about 30 minutes. 
At around 6:00 a.m. I was taken to Ofer prison. At Ofer I was strip searched again and I was asked to crouch up and down while naked before being taken to Section 13. I ate and had a shower and went to bed.
The following day I was taken to Ofer military court. My parents were not there because they were not informed of the hearing. My lawyer was there and the hearing was adjourned. 
In all I had about 13 military court hearings. The court did not find any evidence against me. The prosecution presented pictures of me standing at the entrance to the refugee camp doing nothing. Then the prosecutor claimed they had two soldiers as witnesses. The military court ordered both of the soldiers to come to court to give evidence but only one of them showed up. When he gave his testimony it contradicted what the prosecutor had accused me of. My lawyer asked for my immediate release but the prosecutor appealed twice.
In the end the military judge decided to release me. I was released on 21 December 2017 at around 6:00 p.m. I arrived home at 2:30 a.m. My parents did not have to pay any fines.