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Home » Children »

Testimony: H.E.W.R.


Name: H.E.W.R.
Age: 17
Date: 4 July 2023
Location: ****, West Bank
Accusation: Administrative Detention

On 4 July 2023, a 17-year-old minor from **** was arrested from his aunt's house by Israeli soldiers at 3:00 p.m. He reports physical violence. He reports consulting with a lawyer prior to interrogation but not being informed of his right to silence. He was given two administrative detention orders before being released on 25 October 2023. 

About 10 days before I was arrested, an Israeli soldier fired a stun grenade in my direction without any provocation. The grenade did not explode. I picked it up to move it away from me not knowing it was a stun grenade. At that point it exploded, badly injuring my hand. I started to scream when I saw the damage it had done to my hand and ran towards my great uncle’s house nearby. My great uncle took me to the hospital. I was anesthetized and when I woke up I realised they had amputated my right hand. I was devasted.
Ten days later I had an appointment at the hospital to check on my hand. I was admitted for a few days. On 4 July I was bored being in hospital and decided to visit my aunt who lives nearby. At around 3:00 p.m. I was napping at my aunt's house when a group of about 15-20 soldiers came and told my aunt they wanted to search the house. I woke up to the sound of shouting in the bedroom where I was sleeping. 
One of the soldiers removed my blanket, grabbed me by my T-short and told me to get up. He saw my injury and wanted to know what had happened. Then they searched everywhere causing damage to the furniture. They turned the house into a complete mess. They broke the cups and plates in the kitchen as well as shelves and wardrobes. 
At one point a soldier asked me for my mobile phone. When I told him my father had taken away my phone because he wanted me to focus on my school work, the soldier did not believe me. He took me to another room and three soldiers started to beat me all over my body asking me for my phone. They kicked and slapped me hard.
Then one of the soldiers made me put my slippers on, not my boots. Then he tied my left hand behind my back with one plastic tie and connected it to my belt loop. The tie was tight and painful. Then he blindfolded me and then took me outside and pushed me into the back of a jeep and made me sit on the metal floor. Inside the jeep the soldiers continued to kick and slap me and some of them swore at me calling me "a son of a whore". 
In the meantime, my father and uncle came over after my aunt had phoned them. As soon as they arrived the soldiers tied their hands behind their backs. My father, who is a medical first responder, came in his ambulance wearing his medical uniform. They took all three of us to a nearby military base. There I was separated from my father and uncle.
A commander removed the tie and the blindfold and told me to sit on a chair in a room. He wanted to know what had happened to my hand and I told him the story. Then he tied and blindfolded me as before and took me outside to a courtyard where I was left until around sunset. 
At around sun set, a troop carrier took me to Salem interrogation centre, near Jenin. Inside the troop carrier the soldiers swore at me.  At Salem my tie and the blindfold were removed and I was put in an outdoor cage with other boys. I was left there until dawn. I was hungry and thirsty as I had not been given anything to eat or drink since I was arrested. I called a soldier and asked him for something to eat and he brought me a piece of cake. 
Then in the early hours of the morning I was tied and blindfolded again and put in a troop carrier and taken to Megiddo prison, inside Israel. I was searched with my clothes on before being taken to the minors’ section. By then it was around 5:30 a.m. I slept for about 30 minutes when a prison guard told me I had to go to the military court.
I was taken to a waiting room at the military court but I was never taken into the court itself. I waited from around 7:00 a.m. until around 2:00 p.m. Then I was taken for an interrogation.
The interrogator was wearing a shirt and jeans. He spoke good Arabic and had a camera in the room. He asked me if I wanted to drink anything and I told him I wanted iced coffee. He asked me if I knew where I was and why. I told him I did not. Then he told me I had the right to answer with a yes or no. He said he wanted to ask me a few questions and that I also had the right to say I did not know. He did not inform me of my right to silence.
Then he told me before asking me any questions he wanted me to speak to a lawyer. Then he phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer spoke to the interrogator first and then spoke to me. He asked me for my name and age and where I was from. Then he told me he was my lawyer and then the line was cut off. He spoke for a minute and the interrogator was listening on speaker phone. 
Then the interrogator asked me if I wanted to speak to someone else. I told him I wanted to speak to my father and I gave him the number. The interrogator dialed some numbers but I felt they were the wrong numbers. He finally got through to my father and then he told me I was not allowed to talk about anything that had to do with security. My father asked me whether I was beaten up by the soldiers. I told him I was not because I did not want him to worry about me.  Then I asked my father to appoint a good lawyer.
Then the interrogator asked me if I belonged to any political party. I told him I did not. Then he asked me if I ever took part in military activities or a military parade. I told him I did not. He questioned me for about 30 minutes and did not accuse me of anything. Then he asked me to sign a document written in Hebrew. I signed the document without understanding it. After the interrogation I was taken back to prison.
The following day I was taken back to the military court. Again, I was left in the waiting room and I never entered the court room itself. Two days later I had my first military court hearing which my parents attended. My detention was extended. I had four more military court hearings. At the last hearing the military judge extended my detention for another I 72-hours. I was told they wanted to study my file. When the 72-hours expired, I was told I had another hearing but I refused to go. 
About a week later I was handed a four-month administrative detention order. I was shocked. I was worried about missing my exams at school. I was in a difficult psychological situation; I lost my hand, I missed my exams, I was in prison and then I was handed an administrative detention order which could be renewed again and again. Two days later I was taken back to the military court. The military judge confirmed the administrative detention order.
I was supposed to be released on 4 November 2023, but on 25 October 2023, I was handed another three-month administrative detention order. I felt my entire world had collapsed; I was devastated. 
I spent my prison time at Megiddo. My parents visited me once but after 7 October 2023, family visits were suspended. Prison conditions following 7 October events were terrible. The prison authorities took away everything, extra clothes, soap, hot water for showers, shaving blades and blankets, they even took away our dignity as if we were complicit in the attacks. The only good thing about 7 October is I was included in the prisoner exchange as part of the deal with Hamas.
On the day of my release I was told I was summoned for another interrogation. I was worried because this hardly ever happens once one is serving an administrative detention order. They took me at around 8:00 a.m. to meet with the intelligence officer for my area. He told me I was going to be released and warned me about getting involved in any activities that might harm Israel’s security. He also warned me against celebrating my release. He even phoned my father and gave him a harsh warning about receiving guests or distributing sweets or raising flags or any other signs of celebrations. 
I was then tied to another detainee and I was shackled and then I was released at around 1:00 a.m. I did not arrive home until around 6:00 a.m. I went home with my father and uncles who met me in Ramallah and took me home. I was released on 25 November 2023.
I want to study hard for my final high school exams; I would like to go to a vocational school and learn a profession. I want to work and help my father.