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Testimony: W.R.M.S.


Name: W.R.M.S.
Age: 16
Date: 5 January 2017
Location: Biddu, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones

On 5 January 2017, a 16-year-old youth from Biddu is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 11:00 a.m. while planting olive trees. He reports being interrogated without access to a lawyer or being informed of his right to silence. 

I was taking part in an activity organized by the school to plant olive trees in the area near the tunnel leading to a nearby settlement when two Israeli soldiers approached us. It was around 11:00 a.m. As soon as we saw them we all ran away.
A military jeep then chased us and I could not run fast enough and I was detained. The soldiers beat me hard, shackled my legs and tightly handcuffed me to the front. I was then pushed into the jeep while they still beat me. I was made to sit on the metal floor of the jeep. Inside the jeep a soldier tightened the handcuffs even more and I was in severe pain.
I was then taken out of the jeep and put back in the jeep as the soldiers continued to strike me with the back of their guns. Once inside the jeep again I was  prevented me from lifting my head up.
The jeep drove for about an hour to Atarot police station. On arrival at Atarot I was made to sit outside in the cold weather and some soldiers continued to beat me. I remained there from around noon until 9:00 p.m. and the whole time I was shackled and handcuffed. I was desperate to use the toilet but they did not allow me to go. They asked me for a phone number of one of my relatives and I gave them my grandfather’s number. They called him and told him to come to the police station.
My grandfather arrived at the police station at around 9:00 p.m. and we both went into the interrogation room. The interrogator did not tell me I had the right to silence or a right to consult with a lawyer. He told my grandfather not to interfere in the interrogation. The interrogator allowed my grandfather to stay for about two hours but then he told him to leave. The interrogation then went on for another two hours after my grandfather had left.
The interrogator tried to scare and intimidate me even when my grandfather was still in the room. He wanted me to confess to throwing stones at soldiers near the Wall. He wanted to know what I was doing in the area and who the other boys who ran away were. When I denied the accusation he lost his temper and banged the table. He brought some documents written in Hebrew and asked me to sign them and told me if I refused to sign them he was going to lock me up in prison for a long time. I was scared and I signed the documents without understanding what they said.
After the interrogation my photograph and fingerprints were taken and I was driven to Ofer prison where I arrived at around 1:30 a.m. At Ofer I was strip searched and then I was left in a room for about two hours before being taken to Section 13. By then it was around 4:00 a.m.
I had four military court hearings, which my parents attended, and I was allowed to speak to them. At the last hearing, which was on 17 January 2017, the military judge decided to release me on bail. My parents had to pay 5,000 shekels bail. My lawyer appealed the decision to try to reduce the amount but his request was rejected. I was released on bail the following day, 18 January 2017, and I went home with my parents.
I have had two military court hearing since my release and they were both adjourned. My next hearing will be on 17 July 2017.