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Testimony: M.M.I.H.


Name: M.M.I.H.
Age: 14
Date: 4 September 2021
Location: Al Jalazun camp, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing Molotov cocktail

On 4 September 2021, a 14-year-old minor from Al Jalazun refugee camp was arrested by Israeli soldiers inside a supermarket at 6:00 p.m. and accused of throwing Molotov cocktails. He reports ill treatment and being denied his basic legal rights under Israeli military law. He was sentenced to 7 months in prison and fined NIS 2,000. He also received a suspended sentence. 

I was at the supermarket at around 6:00 p.m. when Israeli soldiers fired a stun grenade into the shop. Then about 20 soldiers entered the supermarket and told everybody to stand against the wall. Then one of the soldiers played some video footage on his iPad showing a group of boys throwing a Molotov cocktail near the settlement of Bet El. One of the soldiers then pushed me to the ground, and another one dragged me out. They kicked and punched me in my head, my back and my arm which was twisted badly. I still suffer pain in my arm more than six months later.
Once outside the soldiers led me towards the settlement of Bet El while soldiers continued to beat me along the way. They also swore at me calling me the "son of a whore". At the settlement a soldier blindfolded me and tied my hands behind my back with two plastic ties on top of each other. The ties were tight and painful and left marks on my wrists for a long time. I was then left at the front gate of the settlement for about five hours. During this time another boy managed to escape. The commander then phoned my parents and told them they would release me if the other boy turned himself in. 
After about five hours I was taken to the police station in Binyamin settlement. I arrived there at around 10:00 p.m. and I was immediately taken for interrogation. A soldier removed the ties and the blindfold and then took me into an interrogation room. 
The interrogator was wearing civilian clothes and there was also an Israeli policeman in the room who was translating. There was a camera and voice recorder. The interrogator did not allow me to speak to a lawyer and did not inform me of my right to silence. He accused me of throwing a Molotov cocktail at the settlement and wanted to know my motive. He yelled and shouted and swore at me. I denied the accusation.
Then the interrogator asked me whether I had been paid by somebody to throw a Molotov cocktail at the settlement and accused me of lying. He questioned me for about an hour. After about an hour I confessed to throwing Molotov cocktail. Then the interrogator asked me to sign a document written in Hebrew and I refused to sign and the interrogator signed the document himself. 
After I had confessed the interrogator phoned a lawyer for me. The lawyer asked me for my name and age and told me not to confess. I told him I had already confessed. The interrogator left the room during the conversation which lasted a few minutes.
Then I was taken to Ofer prison, near Jerusalem, where I was strip searched before being taken to the quarantine section. I was left there for 14 days. 
After 14 days I was taken back to Binyamin for more interrogation. It was a different interrogator who did not inform me of my rights. He wanted to know why I threw a Molotov cocktail at the settlement and told me the soldiers wanted to shoot me dead on the spot. He showed me photographs of the incident but I denied the accusation. He questioned me from around 6:00 a.m. until around 3:00 p.m. He sometimes left the room and took a break.
At one point the interrogator threatened to send me to prison for life if I did not confess. He would also yell at me. I continued to deny the accusation. Then I was taken back to Ofer.
My first military court hearing was about a week after my arrest. It was on zoom and both my parents attended. My detention was extended. I had about eight military court hearings. On 19 January 2022 I was sentenced in a plea bargain to seven months in prison and fined NIS 2,000. I was also given one year in prison suspended for five years. I accepted the deal because my lawyer told me to.
I spent two months at Ofer and then I was taken to Megiddo prison, inside Israel, where I served the rest of my sentence. I was released at Salem checkpoint on 21 February 2022 and I went home with my grandfather and uncle. I arrived home at around 7:00 p.m. 
In prison I was bored and spent most of my time chatting to the other boys. I lifted weights and I attended classes in Hebrew, Arabic and mathematics. I had about six family visits and I was allowed to call home from a telephone provided by the prison authorities once every two weeks.