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Testimony: H.A.A.T.


Name: H.A.A.T.
Age: 17
Date: 29 September 2018
Location: Beit Fajjar, West Bank
Accusation: Detonating gas cannister

On 29 September 2018, a 17-year-old youth from Beit Fajjar in the West Bank is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 3:00 a.m.. He reports being interrogated without first being informed of his right to silence or his right to consult with a lawyer. 

I woke up at around 3:00 a.m. to the sound of loud banging at our front door. My mother opened the door and a large group of Israeli soldiers stormed into our home. They were so many soldiers and they acted as if they had come to arrest the head of a state. 
The commander asked my mother for her children and told her to bring everyone, including my 4-year-old brother, to the living room. Then he asked for me and told me to get dressed because I was under arrest. They did not say why and did not give my mother any documents. 
As soon as I was dressed I was taken outside where they tied my hands behind my back with 2 plastic ties which were tight and painful. Then they blindfolded me and threw me on the floor of a troop carrier.
Inside the carrier a soldier beat me on my side with the back of his gun and caused me severe pain. It left a bruise for a long time. Other soldiers swore at me and called me “a son of a whore” and a “brother of a whore”. 
The troop carrier drove to the police station in Etzion settlement where I was left on the floor of a room until around 7:00 a.m. I was in severe pain and could not sleep.  
At around 7:00 a.m. I was taken outside where I was left for about 1 hour. During this time an interrogator approached me without informing me of my rights and told me I had to confess to a gas canister explosion at a nearby settlement. I denied the accusation and told him I had no idea what he was talking about. 
When I denied the accusation he slapped me while I was still tied and blindfolded. Then he claimed there were confessions by other boys against me. When I challenged him to confront me with the boys he said that “you have to be joking”. Then he took me inside.
I was taken to a room where I was then told that I had the right to consult with a lawyer. The interrogator also told me it was up to me whether I spoke or not. He had a voice recorder on his desk and he turned it on. Then he called a lawyer and handed the telephone over to me but by the time I held the telephone the line was disconnected and I did not speak to a lawyer. 
Then he accused me of taking part in an explosion at a settlement caused by a gas canister. I told him I had no idea what he was talking about.  Then he told me there were confessions against me by other boys and he named the other boys but I continued to deny the accusation. The interrogation lasted for about an hour. In the end he gave me documents written in Hebrew and asked me to sign them but I asked him to give me the documents in Arabic if he wanted me to sign. Then he gave the document to me in Arabic and it said he had informed me of my rights and I signed the document. 
After the interrogation I was taken outside where he gave me more documents and asked me to sign them and he was in a hurry and tricked me into signing them without understanding what they said because they were written in Hebrew. Then he told me he was going to lock me up in prison for 3 years. 
I was left outside on the ground for about an hour. Then I was strip searched and taken to a cell. I was given some food and about 2 hours later I was taken to Ofer prison. At Ofer I was strip searched again before being taken to section 13. 
Two days later I was taken to Ofer military court. I was denied bail and the hearing was adjourned. My mother did not attend the hearing because she was not informed of the date. 
In all I had 4 military court hearings. At the last hearing I was sentenced in a plea bargain to 4 months in prison and fined 2,000 shekels. I was also given a suspended sentence of 6 months valid for 1 year. I accepted the plea bargain because it meant I was going to be released within 20 days. My lawyer told me that if I challenged the case against me I would spend more time in prison. 
My sisters visited me in prison 4 times and I attended classes in Arabic and Mathematics. I was released on the 18 December 2018 and I went home with my uncles. I arrived home at around 10:00 p.m.