Testimony - H.H.H.
|Date of incident:||5 November 2013|
|Location:||Azzun, West Bank|
On 5 November 2013, a 16-year-old boy from Azzun, in the West Bank, is arrested by Israeli soldiers and accused of throwing stones.
“Me and two friends were on my family’s land near the main road between our village and Qalqiliya. At around 1:30 p.m. three Israeli soldiers suddenly appeared from behind some trees. I think they had laid an ambush. I was scared and my friends and I began to run. Then I heard gunshots and we stopped. I was terrified. One soldier aimed his gun at us and ordered us to the ground. We sat down. A soldier approached me and tied my hands to the front with one plastic tie. The tie was a little painful. I was also blind folded. They did the same to my friends.”
“About 15 minutes later a military jeep came and we were pushed in and made to sit on the floor. We were not beaten. Two soldiers were with us in the back of the jeep. The jeep drove for about 10 minutes before it stopped at the settlement of Qarne Shomron. We got there at around 2:30 p.m. We were taken to a courtyard inside the settlement where we sat on the ground. Some soldiers gathered around us and one of them started to beat me, he slapped me on my head and kicked me in my stomach and legs. I was in pain and I was very scared. They also slapped and kicked my two friends.”
“We stayed in Qarne Shomron for about four hours, during this time we were kicked and slapped occasionally. A soldier came and went and verbally abused us. I was scared. I didn’t dare ask for food or to go to the bathroom. At around 6:00 p.m. we were put on the floor of a troop carrier and told to keep our tied hands above our heads and we were blindfolded. It was a very painful position. When I put my hands down for a second when I could no longer hold them up, a soldier hit me on my side with his gun and told me to lift my hands up again. The troop carrier drove for about 30 minutes or so before we arrived at the settlement of Ariel.”
“On arrival at Ariel we were put in a shipping container where we waited while standing. A soldier was in the container with us all the time. The blindfold was removed. The soldier later allowed us to sit on the metal benches in the container. It was late at night and I felt hungry so I asked the soldier for some food and he told me there wasn’t any food. My friends and I slept on the benches, without food or water and without covers.”
“At around 8:00 a.m. the next morning, 6 November, a soldier woke us up and the interrogator walked in to take us to the interrogation room. I asked him if I could have some water from the cooler that was in the container and he allowed me unlike the soldier who refused to give us anything. My two friends were interrogated before me. It was 10:00 a.m. when my turn came.”
“Once inside the interrogation room, the interrogator removed my hand tie. There were two interrogators in the room wearing police uniforms, one asked the questions in Hebrew and the other translated into Arabic. There was a camera in the interrogation room. They didn’t tell me about my right to silence or about my right to contact a lawyer. The interrogator asked me what I was doing in the field near the main road. I told him I was doing nothing. The interrogator accused me of being there in order to throw stones. I denied the accusation. The interrogator got angry and started to shout at me and threatened to beat me if I didn’t confess. I was scared and swore to God that I didn’t throw stones. The interrogator told me my friends had confessed against me but I insisted that I didn’t throw stones and didn’t see anyone throwing stones. Then the interrogator showed me a document written in Hebrew and asked me to sign it. He told me it was my statement, so I signed it. The interrogation lasted for about an hour.”
“At the end of the interrogation the interrogator asked me to tell my parents they needed to appoint me a lawyer, but he didn’t allow me to call my parents and didn’t ask me for their number so that he could call them. When the interrogation was over they took my fingerprints and my picture and the interrogator took me back to the shipping container. About 30 minutes later soldiers came and tied my hands to the front with one plastic tie and blindfolded me. They did the same to my friends. They took us to a jeep where we sat on the seats. The jeep drove for about an hour before we arrived at Huwwara military camp. The jeep waited outside for nearly two hours before it was allowed to enter the camp.”
“We were taken to a courtyard where we waited for nearly three hours, blindfolded and hand tied. It was cold. Soldiers brought a dog very close by and I was terrified because it barked all the time. Soldiers were swearing at us but did not beat us. Then we were taken to a shipping container where we sat on the floor until midnight when soldiers put us in a jeep and we were taken to Megiddo prison, inside Israel. The trip took about three hours. We were not given food or water in Huwwara.”
“On arrival at Megiddo I was given a medical examination. A doctor asked me if I had any illnesses and I told him I didn’t. Then a policeman searched me, gave me prison clothes and took me to Section 3 where I stayed with other prisoners my age. They did the same to my friends. In Meggido we were given some food. We hardly slept for a few hours before we were taken to Salem military court at around 9:00 a.m., on 7 November. My parents were not in court because they were not informed, but a lawyer was there who told me he was representing me. The lawyer asked me if I had confessed to anything and I told him I hadn’t. He told me he was going to ask for the hearing to be adjourned. The second hearing was on 11 November. My father was in court and the judge allowed me to speak to him in the court room. The hearing was adjourned again. I had a number of hearings; the last one was on 21 December 2013 when the lawyer was able to release me on bail. My family had to pay 1,500 shekels. I went home with my father. I thought there was supposed to be another hearing on 30 December but that never happened. The lawyer told me he would call me about a new date but he never did.”
“In prison I was allowed to study mathematics and science. My friends are still in prison because they confessed to throwing stones. I spent one month and 16 days in prison and as a result I lost my school year.”