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Testimony: S.M.L.


Name: S.M.L.
Age: 17
Date of incident: 9 December 2015
Location: Qalandia, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones
On 9 December 2015, a 17-year-old youth from the Qalandia refugee camp is detained by Israeli soldiers and accused of throwing stones. He is released 8 days later.
I was chatting with my friend near Qalandia checkpoint when a group of Israeli soldiers suddenly approached us and started to question us about throwing stones at the checkpoint. It was around 4:00 p.m. and there were no clashes going on at the time.
One of the soldiers took some pictures out of his pocket of boys throwing stones and asked me whether I knew any of them. When I told him I didn’t and that I don’t throw stones at anyone he yelled at me, accused me of lying and threatened to arrest me.
Two soldiers then grabbed me and dragged me towards the checkpoint. One of the soldiers tied my hands to the front with one plastic tie. The tie was tight. He also tied my legs with a plastic tie. He violently pushed me into a shipping container and made me sit on a bench where I remained for about three hours. I begged the soldier to allow me to use the toilet. In the beginning he refused but then he allowed me. It was very hard to use the toilet because of the ties.
About an hour into my detention a commander came with some documents written in Hebrew and told me I had to sign them but I refused. But when he started to yell and shout at me I was scared that he might beat me and I signed the documents without understanding what they said. The commander later told me that it was an acknowledgement that I wasn’t beaten during my arrest.
At around 7:00 p.m. soldiers aggressively dragged me to a jeep where they beat me hard. The jeep drove to the nearby police station at Atarot, in East Jerusalem. They made me sit outside on a bench where it was very cold. I remained there for about three hours. Half way through this time a soldier asked me for my father’s telephone number and he summoned him to the police station. My father arrived at the police station at around 10:00 p.m. As soon as my father arrived we were both taken into the interrogation room.
The interrogator removed the hand tie but kept the tie around my legs. He then told my father not to say a word unless he directs a question to him. He did not inform me of any rights. He showed me a tape recorder and told me he was going to turn it on to record the session.
The interrogator then accused me of throwing stones at soldiers at the checkpoint and showed me pictures of boys throwing stones. They were different from the photos the other soldier showed me earlier. I denied the accusation and told him I didn’t know the boys. The interrogation lasted for about 90 minutes. In the end the interrogator asked me to sign documents written in both Hebrew and Arabic and I signed them.
I was then taken into another room where I was photographed and fingerprinted. I was tied again but this time my hands were tied behind my back. My father waited outside. The interrogator told him they were going to detain me until I was brought before a military court at Ofer in a few days. He told him he could bring a lawyer. He then told the soldiers to drop my father off at the checkpoint. My father left at around midnight.
I was then blindfolded and taken to another room where I sat on a chair. I remained there until around 4:00 a.m. My hands and legs were tied and I was blindfolded the whole time. I wasn’t given any food or drink since the time of my arrest. I was then taken in a private car to Ofer prison. At Ofer I was strip searched and a doctor examined me. I was then taken to the juvenile section.
Two days later I was taken to the military court. My parents were there and I was allowed to speak to them. The hearing was adjourned. I had two more military court hearings within one week. On hearing days soldiers would take me to the waiting room where I would wait until 5:00 p.m. only to be told in court that the hearing was adjourned.
On the last hearing my lawyer entered the room with NIS 1,500 which he collected from my father in order to pay the court. I think it was a fine. Then judge told me to leave because everything was over. After court I was driven to Qalandia checkpoint. When we arrived the commander told me never to do it again and that he didn’t want to ever see me at Qalandia. I was released on 17 December 2015. My parents were waiting for me at the checkpoint and I went home with them.