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Testimony: Y.M.A.A.


Name:  Y.M.A.A.
Age:  12
Date:  27 July 2022
Location:  Beit Fajjar, West Bank
Accusation:  Throwing Molotov cocktails

On 27 July 2022, a 12-year-old minor from Beit Fajjar was arrested by Israeli soldiers from home at 2:00 a.m. He reports briefly consulting with a lawyer prior to interrogation but not being informed of his right to silence. He reports being sentenced to 7 days in prison and fined NIS 1,700. He also received a suspended sentence. 

About five months before my arrest an Israeli policeman phoned my mother at around 9:00 a.m. and told her my father had to bring me to an Israeli police station immediately. I went with my father and got there at around 10:00 a.m. At the gate a guard showed up and took me and my father inside. 
We waited a long time for the interrogator to show up but he never did and we were told to go home and come back the next day. The following day my father and I went to the police station and we were sent home again and told to come back the following day. The third time my father decided not to go.  
About five months later, my mother woke me up at around 2:00 a.m. and told me there were Israeli soldiers in our neighbourhood. Then I saw a message on Facebook from a friend saying the same thing. Shortly afterwards I heard loud banging at our front door. My father answered and about six soldiers entered our home. 
The soldiers took our telephones and then sat me down on the couch with my parents and my sister. They kept us there for more than two hours. My knees hurt because I was scared. During this time the soldiers searched my bedroom with a device but did not find anything. My sister asked for a glass of water and when my mother stood up to go to the kitchen she felt nauseous and found it hard to breathe.
Later one of the soldiers told my parents they wanted to take me away. When my mother asked where they were taking me the soldier only told my mother that I was a "trouble maker." Then he gave my parents a document filled out in Hebrew with a telephone number for my parents to call and ask about me. When they tried calling the number the line was busy and no one ever answered. 
Then a soldier followed me into my bedroom while I got dressed. Then the soldier took me outside where he tied my hands with to the front with three plastic ties: one on each wrist and another connecting the two. The ties were tight and painful and left marks on my wrists. Then they walked me towards the entrance to my village where a soldier blindfolded me with three folds on top of each other. 
Then they took me to a troop carrier and made me sit on a seat. Then I was taken to the police station in Etzion settlement. At Etzion I was taken to a cell with other boys. I was left there for about two hours and I could not sleep. Some soldiers swore at me in Hebrew and others brought me some water and allowed me to use the toilet. Then I was taken to another room with couches and I was able to rest a bit. At around 11:00 a.m. I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator removed the blindfolds but kept me tied. He was in civilian clothes. The interrogator did not allow me to speak to a lawyer and did not inform me of my right to silence. He only asked me for my name and then sent me to another interrogator. 
The second interrogator was also in civilian clothes. He asked me if I wanted to speak to a lawyer I told him I did. Then he phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer asked me whether I was involved in throwing stones and told me not to confess to anything. The interrogator was listening on speaker phone and the conversation lasted for about two minutes. 
The interrogator did not inform me of my right to silence. He showed me video footage of my friend and asked me for his name. I gave his name. The interrogator wanted to know what was my friend doing. I told him I did not know. When he insisted, I told him my friend was throwing a Molotov cocktail. 
The interrogator questioned me for about one-and-a-half hours. He was calm and at the end he asked me to sign on an electronic device on a text written in Hebrew. I signed without understanding. Then I was blindfolded and taken back to the cell for about three hours. I was then taken back to the interrogation room where I confessed to throwing a Molotov cocktail. 
Then I was taken to a military vehicle which drove around for about three hours. Then I was taken to Ofer military court. My parents did not attend the hearing because they were not informed about it in advance. My detention was extended. After court I was taken to Ofer prison where they asked me to pull down my trousers for a search. Then I was taken to the minors’ section.
I had three more court hearings. At the last one, which was on the day I was released, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to time served and fined NIS 1,700. I was also given a suspended sentence of eight months suspended for five years and ordered to pay NIS 5,000 if arrested again. I accepted the plea bargain because I wanted to go home.
I was released on 3 August 2022 at Ofer and I went home with my father. We arrived home at around 2:00 a.m.