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Testimony: Y.A.M.S.


Name: Y.A.M.S.
Age: 17
Date: 5 December 2022
Location: Al Bireh, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones

On 5 December 2022, a 17-year-old minor from Al Bireh was arrested by Israeli soldiers from home at 3:00 a.m. He reports ill treatment and being denied his basic legal rights under Israeli military law. He was sentenced to 4 months in prison and fined NIS 2,000. He also received a suspended sentence. 

My mother woke me up at around 3:00 a.m. and told me Israeli soldiers were in our house looking for me. They had banged at our front door and my father let them in. Seven soldiers entered our home and came straight into my bedroom. 
The soldiers searched my bedroom and found four sling shots. They slapped and kicked me and called me "a son of a whore". Then they told me to get ready because I was under arrest. The soldiers remained in our house for about 30 minutes before taking me outside.
At the front door one of a soldier tied my hands behind my back with two plastic ties. He also handcuffed me on top of the ties. The ties and the handcuffs were tight and painful. He also blindfolded me and then took me on foot to the nearby settlement of Psagot. I was left outdoors in a courtyard until around 6:00 a.m. I was not given any food or drink.
At around 6:00 a.m. I was put in a military jeep where I sat on the metal floor. The jeep took me to Beit El settlement where I was left in an underground room until around 7:00 a.m. the following day. A soldier was in the room with me the whole time. During this time, I was given a quick medical examination and then I was taken to the police station at Ma'aleh Adumim for interrogation.
The interrogator removed the ties, the handcuffs and the blindfold. He was wearing an Israeli police uniform and there was a camera in the room. He allowed me to speak to a lawyer before the interrogation. The lawyer told me not to confess, even if the interrogator shows me photographic evidence. He assured me the interrogator was not going to beat me. The call lasted for about two minutes and the interrogator was not in the room. Still I did not speak frankly with the lawyer because there was a camera in the room.
Then, without informing me of my right to silence, the interrogator accused me of throwing stones at settlers using a sling shot. He gave me a specific date. When I denied the accusation, he showed me some photographs of the incident he was talking about. I continued to deny the accusation. At times he became aggressive and told me if I confessed he would send me home. 
He questioned me non-stop for the whole day and I was exhausted. I think he finished questioning me at around 3:00 a.m. At the end he asked me to sign a document written in Hebrew but I refused to sign. 
After the interrogation I was taken to Ofer prison, near Jerusalem, where I was strip searched before being taken to section 13. I barely had time to sleep when at around 6:00 a.m. I was told I had another interrogation. 
I was taken back to Ma'aleh Adumim for the second interrogation. I was exhausted and sleep deprived. This time the interrogator did not call a lawyer for me and did not inform me of my right to silence. He repeated the same accusations and questioned me for about two hours. He did not ask me to sign any documents. After the interrogation I was taken to Ofer court. My parents were not there because they were not informed. My detention was extended. 
A week later I was taken to Ma'aleh Adumim for a third interrogation. I was not allowed to call a lawyer and I was not informed of my right to silence. This interrogator was the worst in terms of his style. He was aggressive and thumped the table many times. He threatened to arrest my mother and father if I did not confess. He questioned me for about six hours and wanted me to give the names of my friends. I did not give any names. He did not ask me to sign any documents. After the interrogation I was taken back to Ofer prison.
I had about 11 military court hearings. At the last one, which was about three weeks before I was released, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to four months in prison and fined NIS 2,000. I was also given a suspended sentence for three years with a NIS 3,000 bond. I accepted the plea bargain because the prosecutor had wanted 6-months in prison.
I spent my prison sentence at Ofer where I read some books, played table tennis and chatted to the other prisoners. My family visited me twice and I was able to call home from a telephone provided by the prison authorities twice a month, although sometimes it was once a month.
I was released on 21 March 2023, at Ofer checkpoint and I went home with my family. I arrived home in the evening and had a nice meal with my family and friends. I left school when I was in eight grade and now I work as a mechanic.