|Date:||7 December 2017|
|Location:||Hebron, West Bank|
On 7 December 2017, a 17-year-old youth from Hebron is arrested by Israeli soldiers during clashes following Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem. He reports being interrogated without being informed of his legal rights under military law.
I was on my way to work at around 11:30 a.m. when an Israeli soldier stopped me at a checkpoint and sent me back the way I came. I then went to another checkpoint in order to get to work but there were clashes nearby following Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem.
As soon as I approached the second checkpoint soldiers attacked me and started to beat me thinking I was taking part in the protest. They punched me in the chest and a soldier who was wearing metal mittens punched me from both sides and crushed my head. I was in such pain that I vomited and passed out for a short time and fell to the ground.
When I woke a soldier tied my hands behind my back with five plastic ties on top of each other because the first two snapped. The ties were very tight and painful and caused my wrists to bleed. They left a mark on my wrists for a long time.
The soldiers continued to beat and kick me while they led me to the nearby checkpoint in the old city. There were lots of soldiers inside the shipping container at the checkpoint and many of them took part in beating me very hard: on my head, my legs, my back and shoulders. I vomited again and passed out once more.
Someone poured cold water on my face to wake me up. I could hear lots of people screaming and shouting trying to rescue me. One woman shouted very loud and a journalist who was filming was shot at.
I was kept inside the container for hours and one soldier told me Jerusalem was the capital of Israel and I told him no, Jerusalem was the capital of Palestine. He was very upset with me and slung a rubbish bin into my face, spat at me, poured water and dumped rubbish from a bin over me.
Later I was taken to the back of a jeep where I sat on a seat. Inside the jeep I was blindfolded. The jeep drove to a nearby military base called Al-Jabara. I was left out in the cold weather and when I asked them to take me inside and to give me some food they refused. They finally allowed me to use the toilet four hours later. I felt humiliated and scared. At around 2:00 a.m. I was taken for interrogation.
A soldier removed my blindfold and took me inside a room. I sat on a chair and the interrogator started to bang the table to scare me. Then he turned on a voice recorder and immediately wanted me to confess to throwing stones at soldiers. I denied the accusation and told him exactly what had happened. I explained to him I was on my way to work when soldiers attacked me without reason. Then he told me if I confess I would be sent home. I told him I was not going to confess to something I did not do.
Towards the end of the interrogation he called a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him on the phone. The lawyer told me not to confess to anything I did not do and that he would see me in court on Sunday. The interrogator did not inform me of my right to silence and interrogated me for about 90 minutes. I denied the accusation and did not confess.
In the end the interrogator showed me a document in Hebrew and asked me to sign it but I refused to sign until he translated it for me. Only after he had translated it for me did I sign it.
After the interrogation I was examined by a doctor who did not say anything when I told him I was beaten. Then they took my photograph and fingerprints and took me outside where I remained until around 5:00 a.m. I was still without food or drink and was feeling weak and tired.
At around 5:00 a.m. I was taken in a troop carrier to the police station in Etzion settlement. I sat on a seat and was tied but not blindfolded. Inside the troop carrier a soldier swore at me and told me I was a “son of a whore” and I swore back at him.
On arrival at Etzion I was strip searched and then taken to a cell where I spent about four hours. There was an awful smell in the cell and I could not sleep and nobody brought me any food or water. During this time, a commander came to the cell and asked me if I wanted to go to Hadassah hospital to be examined. I decided not to go because I thought going to the hospital would take a long time and I wanted the whole thing to be over as quickly as possible. They took another detainee to hospital who was severely beaten and was bleeding.
Later I was taken in a vehicle to Ofer prison. I arrived at Ofer in the afternoon. At Ofer I was strip searched again before being taken to Section 13. The other detainees gave me some food; it was my first meal since my arrest. I ate and went to bed.
On Sunday, 10 December 2017, I was taken to Ofer military court. My parents did not attend because they were not informed of the hearing and the proceedings were adjourned.
I had five military court appearances. At the last hearing, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to three months in prison and fined 2,000 shekels. I also received a suspended sentence of 10 months valid for three years. I was convicted based on the testimonies of two soldiers. I accepted the plea bargain because I was told my sentence would be harsher if I did not.
I spent my entire sentence at Ofer prison where I took some classes in mathematics. My parents did not visit me in prison because they were not given a permit in time. I was released on 21 February 2018 and I went home with my father. It was a dreadful experience which I will never forget.