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Home » Children »

Testimony: M.S.M.F.

 

Name: M.S.M.F.
Age: 17
Date: 5 August 2020
Location: Hebron, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones
 
On 5 August 2020, a 17-year-old minor from Hebron was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 5:30 p.m. He reports consulting with a lawyer prior to interrogation but not being informed of his right to silence under military law. 
 
I was crossing the Israeli military checkpoint by the big mosque in the old city at around 5:30 p.m.  A group of about 10 soldiers approached me and showed me a photograph of someone throwing stones at soldiers and told me the person was me. I denied the accusation. They did not believe me and one of them tied my hands to the front with metal handcuffs and tightened them very hard. They caused me pain and my wrists were red where they rubbed against the metal.
 
Then they took me to the back of a military jeep and made me sit on the metal floor. A soldier gave me a face mask and when I put it on he covered my eyes with it. He also swore at me.
 
The jeep took me to the police station in the settlement of Kiryat Arba where I was taken to a fenced outdoor area which looked like a cage. I was left there until around 8:30 a.m. the next morning. I could not sleep because soldiers woke me up each time I tried to. They did not allow me to use the toilet and did not bring me anything to eat or drink. At around 8:30 a.m. I was taken for interrogation.
 
There were two people in the room; the interrogator and the interpreter. The first thing the interrogator did was he phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me I had the right to defend myself and told me not to confess. I spoke for about a minute and the interrogator was in the room listening. He then told me to hurry up and finish the conversation.
 
Then, without informing me of my right to remain silent, the interrogator showed me the same photograph I was shown when I was arrested. He accused me of throwing stones at soldiers and I denied the accusation. He gave me a specific date about a month and a half earlier and told me that was when I was throwing stones. He yelled at me and told me to confess but I refused to confess. 
 
The interrogator kept repeating the accusation and telling me the person in the photo was me. He was aggressive and spoke to me through the interpreter with a loud voice. Then the interpreter told me to hurry up and confess because they wanted to close the file. He slapped me hard on my back and shouted at me telling me to confess. At first I denied the accusation but then I confessed. I thought confessing would make it easy on me and I would not spend a long time in prison. 
 
I was questioned for about an hour and at the end I was shown documents in Hebrew and I was asked to sign them. I signed the documents without understanding what they said. By then I thought my game was over. I signed about 10 pages. 
 
Then I was taken to Huwwara military base. I was searched in my boxer shorts and then I was taken to a cell where I spent 16 days. During this time I had one military court hearing over a video link. My brother and mother attended the hearing. My detention was extended. 16 days later I was transferred to Megiddo prison, inside Israel. I was strip searched and then I was taken to the quarantine section where I spent 14 days.  After that I was taken to Ofer prison where I was also strip searched before being taken to section 13. 
 
I had four military court hearings and at the last one, which was a week before I was released, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to six months in prison and fined NIS 2,500. I was also given a suspended sentence of one year suspended for five years. My lawyer advised me to accept the plea bargain and I did because it meant I only had one more week left in prison. My parents were able to reduce my sentence to four months by paying more money.
 
I was released at Ofer on 24 November 2020 and I went home with my two brothers. I arrived home at around 7:00 p.m. I did not have any family visits or official phone calls. In prison I exercised and chatted to the other detainees to pass the time.