|Date:||19 April 2017|
|Location:||Beit Ummar, West Bank|
|Accusation:||Throwing Molotov cocktails|
On 19 April 2017, a 16-year-old youth from Beit Ummar is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:30 a.m. He reports being interrogated without being informed of his right to silence or his right to consult with a lawyer.
I was fast asleep when I heard loud banging at our front door. It was around 2:30 a.m. I got up and went downstairs with my brother to open the door. About 20 Israeli soldiers, all of whom were masked, immediately stormed into our home and asked for our identity cards. They then checked our names against a list. When the commander saw my name he told me I was under arrest.
I was in shock because I was not expecting it. My mother told the commander I was not involved in any wrong doing and pleaded with him not to arrest me but he did not listen to her. He allowed me to change and to say goodbye to my family. I was then i taken outside. The soldiers did not give my family any written documents.
Once outside my hands were tied behind my back with three plastic ties: one on each wrist and another connecting the two. The ties were not tight or painful. They also blindfolded me. I was then taken to the back of a jeep where I sat on the metal floor. The soldiers around me were laughing loudly as they kicked me. A soldier also flicked his finger in my eye and I felt my eye was about to pop.
The jeep drove to the nearby settlement of Karmi Zur where I was left on the floor of a shipping container, tied and blindfolded, until around 8:00 a.m. I could not sleep at all. Then I was taken in a jeep to the police station in Etzion settlement at about 9:00 a.m.
At Etzion I was examined by a doctor who asked me some medical questions while I was still tied and blindfolded.
At around 10:00 a.m. a person took me behind the shipping container and slapped me and told me I had to confess to throwing Molotov cocktails. He grabbed me by my T-shirt and told me someone had asked him to “take care of me” meaning he was told to beat me up and treat me badly. I was shocked when he slapped me because I was still tied and blindfolded.
This person told me his name was captain Omar. He did not inform me of any rights. Then he struck me in the stomach with a baton and beat me on my shoulder and head. He also swore at me saying bad things against my religion. This went on for about an hour and in the end I confessed because I could not take any longer. I confessed to throwing a Molotov cocktail.
After I confessed the interrogator called a lawyer for me and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me not to confess but I told him I had already confessed.
Then I was taken to a room where a person in civilian clothes removed the blindfold but kept me tied. He asked me to repeat the confession I gave outside and told me he needed to type it up on the computer and told me he would then send me home. He also did not inform me of any rights.
I repeated what I had told the first interrogator and the second interrogator recorded what I said on a tape recorder and typed into a computer. This lasted for about 30 minutes. Then he printed out my statement in Hebrew and asked me to sign it and I did without understating what it said.
After signing a statement my photograph and fingerprints were taken and I was searched in my underwear.
Then I was taken to a cell where they removed the ties and brought me some food which I found unappetizing and did not eat. After about an hour I was taken to Ofer prison where I was searched in my underwear again and taken to Section 13. By then it was around 11:00 p.m. I ate and went to bed.
The following day I was taken to Ofer military court. My parents did not attend because they were not informed of the hearing and the proceedings was adjourned.
In all I had about 18 appearances in the military court. In the course of these hearings my lawyer told the court I was beaten and the judge summoned the interrogator to give a testimony in court. The interrogator did not show up in court although he was summoned many times.
In the end my lawyer told the court if the interrogator does not show up the court must take action. Then two interrogators showed up in court and they were cross examined for about four hours. My father and uncle were in court. The judge was very upset when he found out that the person heard in the tape recorder interrogating me was not the same person who showed up in court to testify. My lawyer was upset too and the two interrogators were kicked out of the court room.
Then the judge heard me and believed me when I told him I confessed because I was beaten hard. He also made comments about the fact that the file presented by the prosecutor had some missing information like the time of my arrest and the name of the commander who was in charge of the arrest.
At the last hearing, which was at the beginning of November, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to 11 months in prison and fined 7,000 shekels. In addition I was given a suspended sentence of another 18 months in prison suspended for five years. I accepted the plea bargain because I was told I would spend much longer in prison if I rejected it.
I spent three out of the 11 months in Megiddo prison inside Israel (between May and July), the rest of the time I spent at Ofer.
In prison I studied mathematics and Arabic but the standard was very low and I did not find it useful at all. My mother visited me in prison about nine times but my father did not because his permits were revoked including his work permit.
I was released on 25 February 2018 and I went home with my father and uncles. It was amazing to be home after this long time in prison. My mother had cooked a nice meal and our house was full of people who had come to wish me well.
After my release I found out that a suspected collaborator was arrested by the Palestinian Authority about a week after I had been arrested.