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Testimony: D.S.A.A.


Name:  D.S.A.A.
Age:  14
Date:  16 May 2023
Location:  Husan, West Bank
Accusation:  Throwing stones

On 16 May 2023, a 14-year-old minor from Husan was arrested by Israeli soldiers from home at 3:00 a.m. He reports being denied his basic legal rights under Israeli military law. He was sentenced to 7 days in prison and fined NIS 3,000. He also received a suspended sentence. 

My brother woke me up at around 3:00 a.m. and told me Israeli soldiers were in our home. I quickly got out of bed and went to the living room where I saw 10 soldiers. Some of the soldiers were masked and looked scary. One of them spoke perfect Arabic.
As soon as I showed up, one of the soldiers pushed me back into my bedroom and told me to take off my trousers. He wanted to see the bullet wound I had sustained about two months earlier when I was at my grandparents’ house during clashes with soldiers and a stray bullet hit me in the leg. Then the soldiers searched my wardrobe and threw all my clothes on the floor. Then one of the soldiers told me to get dressed because I was under arrest. The soldiers did not give my parents any documents and did not tell us the reason for my arrest.
Outside our house one of the soldiers tied my hands behind my back with one plastic tie. He tightened it hard and I was in pain. The soldier who held my hand pressed hard and held my hand up in a painful position. Then he blindfolded me and took me on foot a short distance to where the military jeeps were waiting. I was put in the back of one of the jeeps and the soldiers made me sit on the metal floor and did not allow me to sit on a seat. Then the jeep drove to the police station at the nearby settlement of Bitar Illit. 
The soldiers asked me to sit on a chair in an outdoor area and a female soldier asked me some medical questions and gave me a quick medical examination. Then I was taken to the police station in Etzion settlement. I was left in a car and a soldier told me I needed to wait until the interrogator arrived. At around 6:30 a.m. I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator removed the blindfold and the tie. He was wearing a T-shirt and jeans.. Before questioning me, he phoned a lawyer for me and allowed me to speak to him and then he left the room. The lawyer told me not to confess and to tell the interrogator I had nothing to do with anything. The conversation lasted about two minutes.
Then the interrogator started to question me about my gunshot wound. He wanted to know details about the time when I was shot. He did not inform me of my right to silence. He wanted to know who else was with me and who carried me when I was shot. He also wanted to know the name of the hospital I was taken to. He questioned me for about three hours and told me soldiers had testified that they had seen me throwing stones. I denied the accusation.
The interrogator was mainly calm, but told me I was facing up to two years in prison if I did not confess. He did not ask me to sign any documents.
Then I was taken back to Bitar Illit for another interrogation. This time the interrogator was in police uniform and had a camera in the room. He did not call a lawyer for me but told me I had the right to remain silent if I wanted to and warned me that choosing to remain silent would turn against me in court. I understood this to mean that it was better for me to speak and not remain silent.
The second interrogator repeated the same questions as the first interrogator and he spoke to me in a loud and aggressive voice. He threatened to keep me in prison for a long time if I did not confess. He also told me he was going to deny me a permit to enter Israel for seven years if I did not confess. He reminded me that they had revoked the work permits of my father and two older brothers and my three uncles soon after I had been shot and told me I would never be allowed to have a work permit. My father lost his job inside Israel where he had worked for 17 years and was earning a good income. He now works with a Palestinian employer and his salary is a fraction of what he used to earn.
I was questioned for about three hours and I continued to deny the accusation. At the end he asked me to sign electronically on an iPad. When I told him I did not read Hebrew and wasn’t going to sign anything I did not understand, he shouted at me and told me I had to sign and I did.
After the interrogation I was taken to Ofer prison, near Jerusalem. I arrived there at around 2:00 p.m. I was tired and hungry because I was not given any food since I was arrested in the middle of the night. I was taken to a cell with two other boys and I was not taken into the minors’ section until 9:00 p.m. the following day. That was when I had my first meal. 
During this time I was taken to the military court. My parents were not informed and they did not attend the court hearing. My detention was extended. After court I was taken back to the cell and then, at around 9:00 p.m., I was strip searched before being taken to the minors' section.
I had two more military court hearings. At the last hearing, which was on the same day of my release, my lawyer told me he had agreed on a plea bargain with the prosecution in which I had to confess. My parents had to pay a NIS 3,000 fine and I was given a suspended sentence valid for two years. The military judge was satisfied with the time I had already spent in prison.
I was released at Al-Jib checkpoint on 23 May 2023, but my parents were told to wait for me at Ofer. I called my father who told me to take a taxi to Ramallah and my he met me there. I arrived home at around 1:30 a.m. 
I am in ninth grade, and I want to focus on my school work.