|Date:||13 January 2019|
|Location:||Beit Ummar, West Bank|
On 13 January 2019, a 16-year-old minor from Beit Ummar was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:00 a.m. He reports being interrogated without first being informed of his right to silence or his right to consult with a lawyer.
Israeli soldiers came to our home quietly on foot while we were sleeping. It was around 2:00 a.m. My father came into my room and woke me up and told me the soldiers were asking for me. About 10 soldiers followed my father into my bedroom and more were spread around our house. I got up and my father gave me some clothes to put on and I went downstairs.
The soldiers told my mother to be quiet and not make any noise and that everything would be all right. Then they pushed her into the kitchen and did not allow her to leave. They took our identity cards and our phones. A soldier then told my father the wanted to arrest me. When my father asked for the reason the soldier told him his job was only to make the arrest and giving reasons was not his job.
I barely had time to put my boots on before the soldiers took me outside. They did not tell us why they wanted to arrest me but they gave my parents a document written in Hebrew and my father signed it.
I was then taken outside where a soldier tied my hands to the front with one plastic tie which was very tight and painful. I was also blindfolded. The soldiers walked me down the street and made me wait on the ground for a short while. Then they took me to a troop carrier where I sat on a seat.
The troop carrier drove to the police station in Etzion settlement. On the way soldiers swore at my religion and my mother and called her a “whore”. At Etzion I was taken to a room where I was left on the floor for about an hour. A soldier banged the table when I nodded off so I was unable to sleep.
After about an hour I was taken away on foot. On the way a soldier made donkey sounds wanted me to hurry up. Another soldier told him to slap me but he did not. I was taken to be examined by a doctor who removed the blindfold and put it back on again. Then I was taken back to the room where I was left until around 7:00 p.m.
At around 7:00 p.m. I was taken to a shipping container and made to stand up and then sit down. At this point a soldier banged my head against the wall. About two hours later I was taken for interrogation.
As soon as I entered the interrogation room a soldier approached me to remove the blindfold but the interrogator told him not to. Then, without informing me of my rights, the interrogator accused me of throwing stones at soldiers. I denied the accusation. He asked me about one of my friends but I denied I knew him. He accused me of lying and claimed everybody in the village knew that boy. Then he threatened to arrest my father if I did not confess. This lasted for about five minutes.
After about five minutes the interrogator left the room and I removed the blindfold and tried to sleep. A soldier walked in and woke me up and took me to another room with another interrogator.
The second interrogator removed the tie and the blindfold and showed me a photograph. He spoke via an interpreter and accused me of throwing stones at soldiers and gave me a specific date. I denied it. Then he phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me not to confess. The conversation with the lawyer lasted less than a minute and the interrogator was listening. After the conversation the interrogator told me not to listen to the lawyer.
Then he told me he was like my brother and urged me to confess if I wanted him to go easy on me. He also told me my father was waiting at the gate and if I confessed he would send me home with him. He spoke in a soft tone of voice but then he flipped when I refused to confess. He banged the table and hit me hard on the back. The second interrogation lasted for a little more than an hour. I was not informed of my right to silence by anyone.
Then I was taken back to the first interrogator who told me to think of my father who was waiting by the gate and urged me to confess in order to go home with him. He told me I needed to apologise to the other interrogator for not confessing to him. I continued to deny the accusation and did not confess. Then they took me to another room and took my photo and fingerprints. Then I was shown a document in Hebrew and asked to sign it. When I refused to sign the person who showed me the document pulled my hand and forced me to scribble on the document.
Then I was taken to a shipping container for an hour before being strip searched. Then I was taken to a cell where I stayed for about 15 minutes. Then a soldier handcuffed and shackled me and I was taken to Ofer prison. On the way to Ofer soldiers were singing loudly and making fun of me. The trip to Ofer took a long time, maybe five or six hours. By the time I arrived at Ofer it was maybe 6:00 or 7:00 p.m.
Two days later I was taken to Ofer military court. My father attended the hearing. I was denied bail and the hearing was adjourned.
I had four military court hearings and at the last one the military judge said because I was a minor he was going to accept the plea bargain which my lawyer and the prosecutor drafted. He sentenced me to four months in prison and imposed a fine of NIS 1,500. He also gave me a suspended sentence of eight months in prison valid for four years. I accepted the plea bargain because my lawyer told me the alternative would be eight months in prison.
I spent the whole time at Ofer where I exercised and lifted weights. I told my parents not to visit me because I wanted to save them the hassle. I was released on 28 April 2019.