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Testimony: A.R.I.Z.


Name: A.R.I.Z.
Age: 15
Date of incident: 22 February 2016
Location: Beit Ummar, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones/pipe bombs
On 22 February 2016, a 15-year-old youth from Beit Ummar is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:00 a.m. and accused of throwing stones, Molotov cocktails and pipe bombs.
I was asleep when I woke up to the sound of loud banging at the front door and smashing the glass. It was 2:00 a.m. When my father opened the door about 30 Israeli soldiers entered our home and started to yell and shout. They were aggressive and anxious. My father had an argument with them which nearly ended in a fist fight.
The soldiers then asked to see all our identity cards including mine but I told them I didn’t have one yet because I am under 16. They looked at the annex in my father’s identity card where my details are recorded and then asked me to get dressed because I was under arrest.
I started to go back to my bedroom to get dressed but the soldiers ordered my mother to bring my clothes to the front porch instead. When I started to change sitting on the floor of the porch a soldier kicked me hard and told me to hurry. I was allowed to say goodbye to my family and then I was taken outside.
Once outside my hands were tied behind my back with a single plastic tie. The tie was very tight and caused me pain. I complained to the soldier and asked him to tie me to the front because I had back pain and having my hands behind my back aggravated the pain but he refused. I was also blindfolded.
The soldiers then put me in the back of a troop carrier and made me sit on the metal floor. The carrier drove for about 15 minutes and during this time soldiers verbally abused me and called me son of a whore. When I swore back at them one of the soldiers slapped me. I was taken to police station inside Etzion settlement.
As soon as we arrived at Etzion a doctor examined me. He removed the blindfold and asked me to sign a document which I couldn’t understand and I refused to sign it. I was blindfolded again and taken to a room where I sat on the floor for about two hours. I was then taken outside where I sat on a chair in the cold for another hour before I was taken for interrogation. It was around 5:30 a.m.
The interrogator told me his name was Yossi before removing my blindfold. Before interrogating me he told me I had the right to remain silent and the right to consult with a lawyer. The interrogator called a lawyer who spoke to me and told me to remain silent and not to be scared and not to sign any documents.
The interrogator told me I was accused of throwing stones and Molotov at soldiers. I told him this was not true. He then showed me some pictures of boys I didn’t know. He then pointed to a boy in one of the pictures and said it was me. I told him it wasn’t me. The interrogation lasted for about an hour.
Another interrogator entered the room and told me his name was Shimon. He told me he was an intelligence office and that I was accused of throwing stones, Molotov cocktails and pipe bombs at soldiers in addition to participating in protests. I told him I had nothing to do with these things and that I go from home to school and back and don’t take part in anything of this sort. The second interrogation lasted for about three hours.
The second interrogator showed me the same photograph I was shown earlier and again I told him the boy in the photograph wasn’t me. He wanted me to tell him who the boy was if it wasn’t me and I told him I didn’t know. He accused me of lying and told me Israeli intelligence know everything there is to know about me. He brought me some water but I didn’t drink and asked if I wanted a cigarette.
Another interrogator then joined in for another 30 minutes. I was then taken to see another interrogator whose name was captain Daoud. He told me if I didn’t confess he was going to damage my reputation in the village and spread the word that I am a collaborator. He also said he would take me to a room with young men who like boys as if he wanted to say someone was going to have sex with me. I pretended not to care but in reality I was terrified that this might happen to me. I also worried about my reputation in the village. I therefore decided to confess to throwing stones at soldiers on one occasion and missing.
The interrogator printed my statement in Hebrew but I refused to sign it. He then took my photograph and my fingerprints and took me to a room. One of the soldiers wanted to strip search me but I refused and asked them to use the metal detecting machine. They refused and threatened to force me. I then took off my clothes myself. They removed the tie in the room and I remained there until around 9:00 p.m. when they brought me some food.
After I ate I was shackled and handcuffed and taken to the back of a troop carrier which took me to Ofer prison. At Ofer I was strip searched again and taken to the juvenile section.
The following day I was taken to Ofer military court. My parents did not attend because they were not notified but a lawyer was there. The hearing was adjourned for 10 days. My parents attended the next hearing and I was allowed to speak to them. I had about 10 military court hearings and in the end I was sentenced in a plea bargain to two months in prison and a fine of NIS 2,000.
I was released on 22 February about two weeks before the end of my prison sentence. I was released around 10:00 p.m. and I went home with my father who was waiting for me outside the prison. We arrived home at around midnight.