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Testimony: L.E.A.H.


Name: L.E.A.H.
Age: 13
Date: 10 August 2023
Location: Rachel's Tomb, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones

On 10 August 2023, a 13-year-old minor from Bethlehem was arrested by Israeli soldiers during clashes at Rachel's Tomb at 11:00 p.m. He reports ill treatment. He reports consulting with a lawyer prior to interrogation and being informed of his right to silence. He was released without charge on 14 August 2023.

I was arrested by Rachel’s Tomb near our house during clashes with Israeli soldiers. It was around 11:00 p.m. Boys were throwing stones. I ran towards a nearby shop when all of a sudden I was grabbed by a group of soldiers. One of the soldiers beat me on my legs and back, another pushed me to the ground and tied my hands behind my back with one plastic tie which was very painful. 
I was then taken to the other side of the Wall where a soldier blindfolded me with a black plastic bag which he took out of a rubbish bin. Another soldier struck me with the back of his gun on my right elbow and on my right knee. It was very painful and I was bleeding from my knee. The soldiers made me sit on a chair by a gate and then a soldier pushed me off the chair and made me sit on the ground. When I asked for some water the soldiers made fun of me and slapped me on my face. 
I was left there on the ground for about an hour-and-a-half until a military jeep took me to Atarot police station in occupied East Jerusalem. The soldiers allowed me to sit on a seat in the jeep. Inside the jeep soldiers swore at me calling me "a son of a whore". They also swore at my god.
At Atarot I was left in an outdoor cage until the following morning. There was an open-air toilet and I had to pee in front of the soldiers. I was embarrassed, but I had no choice. At around 9:30 a.m. I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator was wearing a green T-Shirt and Beige trousers. As soon as I entered the room the interrogator phoned a lawyer on his mobile phone and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer asked me whether I had thrown stones. He then told me not to say anything to the interrogator.. The interrogator was not listening; he went into another room. 
Then the interrogator came back and told me I had the right to remain silent. I decided not to remain silent because I wanted to defend myself. 
Then the interrogator told me soldiers had testified that they had seen me throwing stones. I denied the accusation. Then he showed me some pictures and claimed I was among the boys in the picture throwing stones. I continued to deny the accusation. The interrogator was aggressive and I was provoked by him. Each time I denied the accusation he told me I had to tell the truth because everything was recorded.
He questioned me for about one-and-a-half hours. I did not confess. At the end he showed a piece of paper with Hebrew on one side and Arabic on the other. He wanted me to sign it. I signed after I read the Arabic side.
After the interrogation I was taken to another room and then 30 minutes later I was taken to Ofer prison, near Jerusalem. At Ofer I was strip searched before being taken to section 13.
Four days later I was taken to the military court. My father was in court and I was very happy to see him.  The military judge asked for my father’s phone number, then the judge told me he was going to release me without charge this time. Then he said if I am ever arrested again even god would not be able to get me out of prison. 
After court my father waited for me at Ofer gate until around 6:00 p.m. I was released on 14 August 2023, at Al Jib checkpoint. I called my father and he told me to take a taxi to Qalandiya checkpoint. I took a taxi and met my father at Qalandiya. My father and I arrived home at around 8:00 p.m. I was very happy to be home and to see my two brothers, they were happy to see me too.
My parents are separated and I don’t go to school anymore, I work at a blacksmith’s workshop to earn some money.