|Date:||4 December 2019|
|Location:||Al' Azza, West Bank|
On 4 December 2019, a 16-year-old minor from Al’ Azza was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:00 a.m. He reports being interrogated without first consulting with a lawyer or being informed of his right to silence.
I had just come home from night shift working at a hotel when Israeli soldiers blew off our front door. It was around 2:00 a.m. About 30 soldiers entered our home. The soldiers sat me and my brother down in the living room while they searched our house. Then they asked me for my name and then told me I was under arrest.
A soldier tied my hands to the front in front of my family. The commander told my father he wanted to take me for two days for questioning and would then bring me back. He did not give my family any documents. Then the soldiers took me outside and re-tied my hands behind my back with a single plastic tie which was tight and painful. It left marks on my wrists for days. Then a soldier blindfolded me and made me kneel on the ground outside the house for about 15 minutes while the soldiers continued to search the house. They also brought service dogs into the house.
Then the soldiers led me away on foot for about 10 minutes to Rachel’s Tomb. At Rachel’s Tomb I was put in the back of a military jeep where I sat on a seat. There was also another detainee in the jeep.
On the way the soldiers slapped and kicked me. I was taken for interrogation at a place called Oz. I was first put in a caged area where I was left for about two hours. Then I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator did not tell me I had the right to consult with a lawyer and did not say anything about my right to remain silent. He told me if I did not speak he was going to arrest all my family. Then he asked me whether I threw stones at soldiers. I told him I did not. He swore at me and called me “a son of a whore” and he cursed god. Then he pulled out a voice recorder and placed it on the table in front of him.
The interrogator named a boy and asked me if I was friends with him. I denied knowing that person. He questioned me for about an hour and then he took me to a cell without windows. There was a metal bench in the cell and I was left there for three days. I was interrogated multiple times during the three days. I could not sleep or eat the disgusting food they brought me. I thought of my family the whole time and wondered whether they knew where I was. I could not tell day from night.
I was interrogated around 20 times over the period of three days. The questioning was about that one boy. Then the interrogator showed me documents in Hebrew and asked me to sign them but I refused to sign.
Then I was taken to Ofer prison where I was strip searched before being taken to section 13. The following day I was taken to Ofer military court. My mother and sister were in court. The military judge extended my detention and the hearing was adjourned.
I had four military court hearings and at the last one I was sentenced in a plea bargain to three months in prison and fined NIS 1,500. I was also given a suspended sentence of 10 months valid for three years.
I spent one month at Ofer prison and then I was transferred to Damoun prison inside Israel. The conditions there were terrible, crawling insects and lousy food. We were punished for protesting and I was beaten on my head with a baton. I was denied phone calls with my family as punishment and I went on hunger strike with the other prisoners. A whole month was terrible and I barely slept.
I was released on 19 February 2020 and I went home with my family and some friends. I arrived home in the evening.
This testimony was produced with the financial support of the German Federal Foreign Office. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Military Court Watch.