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Testimony: I.K.M.S.


Name: I.K.M.S.
Age: 17
Date: 1 August 2020
Location: Yabad, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones/protesting

On 1 August 2020, a 17-year-old minor from Yabad was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 6:00 p.m. during clashes and accused of throwing stones. He reports ill treatment and being denied his basic legal rights under Israeli military law. He was sentenced to 2 months in prison and fined NIS 1,000. He also received a suspended sentence.

There were clashes with Israeli soldiers on the main road at around 6:00 p.m. A large group of soldiers chased me and my friends. They shot in my direction and shouted at us to stop. I was terrified. A soldier grabbed me, pushed me to the ground and swore at me. 
They made me sit on the ground for about 30 minutes. During this time a soldier blindfolded me and tied my hands behind my back with three plastic ties: one on each wrist and one connecting the two. The ties were tight and painful and left marks on my wrists. He also shackled my legs with plastic ties.
After about 30 minutes I was taken to the back of a jeep and made to sit on the metal floor between the soldiers’ legs. The jeep drove to a nearby military base in a settlement where I was left in an outdoor area until 6:00 a.m. the following morning. The soldiers around me were very noisy and made fun of me and I could not sleep at all. They asked me about other boys and when I refused to give names one of the soldiers slapped me on the face. They asked me questions without informing me of my rights. I had to beg to be able to use the toilet. They brought me some food and I ate. 
At around 6:00 a.m. I was taken in a jeep to a police station. At the police station I was left in a shipping container for about five hours before being taken for interrogation.
The interrogator removed the ties and the blindfold. He was wearing civilian clothes. As soon as I entered the room he asked me if I wanted to speak to a lawyer. Then he phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him on the speaker phone. The interrogator listened to the conversation. The lawyer told me not to worry and that I had the right to remain silent. I barely spoke for a minute or two when the interrogator took the phone and started to speak to the lawyer himself. He spoke to the lawyer in Hebrew and I did not understand what they were talking about.
Then, without informing me of my right to silence, the interrogator accused me of taking part in clashes with soldiers and of throwing stones at them. I denied the accusation. Then he told me soldiers saw me throwing stones at them. Still, I denied the accusation and the interrogator became aggressive and started to shout at me telling to confess. He questioned me for about an hour and asked me for the names of boys who throw stones at soldiers. I did not give any names.
Later the interrogator threatened to lock me up in prison “until you rot” if I did not confess and give him names. I did not confess. At the end of the interrogation he showed me documents in Hebrew and wanted me to sign them. I told him I was not going to sign unless he translated the document for me. He started to translate but then I got bored and told him to stop because the document was very long and I signed the document. 
After the interrogation I was taken to Huwwara military base where I was strip searched before being taken to a cell. I spent 11 nights at Huwwara. During this time I was interrogated once again. The interrogator did not inform me of my rights but he allowed me to speak to a lawyer. The lawyer told me I had the right to remain silent and told me to deny all the accusations.
The same interrogator questioned me the second time. This time he was more aggressive. He accused me of the same accusations and wanted me to confess. I denied the accusations and did not confess. He questioned me for about 40 minutes and gave me documents in Hebrew to sign. I signed them after he translated them for me and they were identical to what I had said
I also had three military court hearings during these 11 days which were conducted via video link because of the Corona Virus regulations. My father attended the hearing and they were all adjourned. On the 12th day I was transferred to Megiddo prison, inside Israel, where I was strip searched before being taken to a holding area at the checkpoint near the prison where all new detainees are quarantined for 14 days. 
I had two more military court hearings and at the last one, which was on 14 September 2020, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to two months in prison, fined NIS 1,000 fine and given a suspended sentence of eight months valid for three years. I accepted the plea bargain because my lawyer and my father wanted me to accept it. They told me if I did not I would be sentenced to five months in prison instead of two months.
I spent my prison sentence at Megiddo prison. I attended Hebrew, Arabic and math classes but the lessons were not useful for me and did not help me prepare for my final high school exams. My parents did not visit me because of the Corona Virus regulation but the prison management provided telephones for us and I called my parents once every two weeks for 10 minutes. 
I was released on 23 September 2020, at Al Jalama checkpoint. My parents were not informed of my release and they were not waiting for me at the checkpoint. I managed to phone them and I started to walk home and I met my father along the way. He took me home and I arrived home at around 9:00 p.m.