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Testimony - N.M.

Name: N.M.
Age: 15 years
Date of incident: 28 December 2012
Location: Beit Ummar, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones

On 28 December 2012, a 15-year-old boy from Beit Ummar is arrested by Israeli soldiers after midnight and accused of participation in an unauthorised demonstration.
“I was asleep at home when I woke up to the sound of banging at the front door. I stayed in bed while my father went to see who it was. A short time later a soldier walked into my bedroom, pulled me by my T-shirt shirt and asked for my name. I think it was after midnight. He dragged me out of bed, twisted my fractured arm, which was in plaster, behind my back and took me out of the house. It hurt a lot when the soldier twisted it. I was made to stand outside in the cold with lots of soldiers and a soldier brought me my shoes. My hands were then tied tightly with two plastic ties. When I complained that they were too tight, a soldier tightened them still further. By the time I got to the interrogation centre my wrists were bleeding.”
“I was made to walk to the Israeli military watchtower at the entrance to my village where I was blindfolded. I was taken inside the tower and I was slapped in the face and my fractured arm was hit. I screamed in pain, I couldn’t help it. Palestinian workers who were outside later told my father they could hear my screaming from far away. I sat in the watchtower for about 30 minutes. A soldier lifted my blindfold and showed me a picture and asked me whether it was me. I told him it wasn’t me. I was then put on the floor of the jeep together with two other boys from the village and taken to Gush Etzion settlement. The jeep stopped outside the settlement and we were asked to stand out in the cold. We then had to walk over a kilometer into the settlement.”
“In the early hours of the morning I was taken to see an interrogator. He removed my blindfold, untied my hands and showed me some pictures and asked me if the pictures were of me. I told him they were not. He asked me how many times I had participated in demonstrations and wanted to know who else was with me at the demonstrations. He then asked me to wait outside. I waited for about three hours and I was blind folded and tied once again. I was then taken to see a second interrogator who asked me the same questions and showed me the same pictures. He also asked me whether I threw stones. I told him I didn’t. He got angry, shouted at me and pushed the table against me. I was scared. I denied all the accusations. I was then made to wait for about two hours. During this time I was brought some food but I didn’t eat; I had lost my appetite.”
“I was then taken to see a third interrogator who screamed at me and pushed the table aggressively. He told me 'confess’ and shouted even louder. At this point I told him one of the pictures was of me. The interrogator made me sign a document written in Hebrew. I don’t know what was written in the document because I don’t understand Hebrew. I was then taken to see a doctor who didn’t speak any Arabic. Afterwards I was taken to a cell. I was in the cell with two other young men. I waited there for about two hours and then I was taken to a military vehicle. I was shackled with metal shackles and my hands were tied with metal handcuffs to the front. I sat on a bench inside the vehicle and was told they were taking me to Ofer prison.”
“Shortly after arriving at Ofer prison I was taken to Hadassah hospital, in Jerusalem, so that my arm could be checked out. The plaster was removed and my arm was x-rayed. I was then taken back to Ofer prison without the plaster. When I arrived at Ofer it was about 5:00 a.m. and my arm was hurting. On Sunday morning I was taken to Ofer military court where I saw a lawyer for the first time. My father was in court but I wasn’t allowed to speak to him. The lawyer told me the prosecutor had requested a 10-month sentence but he wanted to get it reduced. The judge adjourned the case. I had many court hearings, and each time my lawyer managed to reduce the sentence a little bit. In the end I received a four-month sentence and a fine of NIS 1,000. This fine was a substitute for a fifth month in prison as my parents wanted me back at school as quickly as possible.”
“During my time in prison I was taken to hospital again to have surgery on my arm. The platinum rod in my arm needed to be removed. My parents couldn’t visit me in hospital because they didn’t have permits to enter Israel.  My parents couldn’t visit me in prison either because a permit takes a long time to be issued. The only time I saw them was in court. I found it very hard to be in prison. I missed my family a lot. I also missed school. We were allowed to study Hebrew, Arabic and Mathematics in prison, but no other topics. I was released on 14 April 2013.”