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Testimony: I.S.I.M.


Name:  I.S.I.M.
Age:  16
Date:  29 October 2020
Location:  Beit Jala, West Bank
Accusation:  Planning to throw Molotov cocktail
On 29 October 2020, a 16-year-old from Doha was arrested near a military base in Beit Jala at 10:30 p.m. and accused of planning to throw Molotov cocktails. He reports being denied his basic legal rights under Israeli military law. He reports being held in solitary confinement for 12 days. He was sentenced to 2 months in prison and fined NIS 2,000.
I was with my cousin and a friend on the street near the military base in Beit Jala at around 10:30 p.m. All of a sudden, a group of Israeli soldiers approached us and wanted to know what we were doing in the area. Then a soldier slapped me on the face and dragged me into the base where he forced me to the ground face down. He also beat me in the back with his gun and swore at me. I was then handcuffed with my hands behind my back. The cuffs were very tight which was painful and my hands became swollen. I was also blindfolded and left on the ground until around 3:30 a.m. 
At around 3:30 a.m. I was put on a seat in a vehicle and taken to a nearby police station for interrogation. The interrogator removed my blindfold but kept me handcuffed. He asked me what I was doing near the military base at 10:30 p.m. He accused me of wanting to throw a Molotov cocktail at the base. I denied the accusation and told him I was just going for a walk with my cousin and friend. He called me a liar and raised his voice at me saying my cousin and friend had already confessed and told him I was plotting with them.
About half way through the interrogation the interrogator phoned a lawyer and handed me the telephone to speak to him. The lawyer told me to give short answers like “yes” and to only talk about things that actually happened. I spoke to the lawyer for about a minute and then the interrogator took the telephone away. He was listening to our conversation.
The interrogator questioned me for about 45 minutes but did not inform me of my right to silence. He kept repeating the accusation and I kept denying it. At the end he made me sign documents written in Hebrew and I signed without understanding what the documents said.
Then I was taken to the police station in Etzion settlement where I was searched in my boxer shorts and then I was taken for a second interrogation. This time it was two policemen who told me to answer "yes or no." They repeated the same questions without informing me of my rights. I was not given any documents to sign. They questioned me for about 20 minutes.
After the second interrogation I was taken to a cell where I was strip searched. I was left in the cell for 16 days. There were two boys with me during the first four days but then I was left by myself and I went crazy because I did not have anyone to speak to. I did not know what to do with myself and spent the time staring at the four walls and trying to measure the size of the cell. I spent most of my time sleeping and thinking about what might happen to me. On the second day I had a military court hearing via video link and the military judge extended my detention.
Sixteen days later I was transferred to Megiddo prison, inside Israel, where I was strip searched before being placed in the quarantine section for 14 days. Then I was transferred to section 3 at Megiddo prison where I spent the rest of my prison time. 
I had five military court hearings and at the last one, which was two days before I was released, I was sentenced to two months in prison and fined NIS 2,000. I also received a suspended sentence of another one-and-a-half years in prison suspended for a few years. I accepted the plea bargain because I was desperate to go home in two days. 
I was released on 21 December 2020 at Al Jalama checkpoint and I took a taxi home. I arrived home at around 9:00 p.m. I did not have any family visits because the permit was not issued in time. In prison I watched television and chatted to the other detainees. I also attended classes in Arabic, Hebrew and mathematics.