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Testimony: O.S.

Name: O.S.
Age: 16 
Date of incident: 3 March 2014
Location: As Sawiya, West Bank
Accusation:  Throwing stones
On 3 March 2014, a 16-year-old minor from As Sawiya was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 1:00 p.m. and accused of throwing stones. He reports ill treatment and being denied his basic rights under Israeli military law. He reports being released on bail of NIS 3,500 on 25 March 2014.
I was walking home from school with some friends at around 1:00 p.m. when we saw a group of Israeli soldiers hiding in an olive grove by the side of the road. Some of my friends decided to turn back but I continued walking. I thought to myself I hadn’t done anything wrong so there was no reason for me to be afraid of the soldiers.
Shortly afterwards I saw three soldiers running towards me. They surrounded me and I didn’t resist. Two soldiers held me by my arm and threw me to the ground. They immediately tied my hands behind my back with one plastic tie, which was very painful. I told them it was painful but they didn’t pay any attention. Then they blindfolded me.
The soldiers then dragged me to the main road near my school where a military jeep was waiting. I was pushed in the back and made to sit on the metal floor. I could hear the voices of some of the teachers talking to the soldiers trying to get me released. I heard a soldier say they wanted to investigate whether I had been throwing stones and if not they would release me. The soldiers got onto the jeep and the jeep drove away.
Three soldiers sat in the back of the jeep and they deliberately pushed my back down and forced my head between my legs. They also punched me in my head and swore at me. On the way one of the soldiers sat on my back for a few minutes forcing my head to touch the metal floor of the jeep. The jeep drove for about 15 minutes before stopping. I think we were in the settlement of Shilo. I was taken out of the jeep and made to sit on the ground for about 30 minutes. I was still tied and blindfolded. Then I was put back in the jeep, which drove for about 30 minutes.
The jeep stopped somewhere and I was taken to see a doctor for a medical examination. My hand tie and blindfold were removed. A doctor gave me a questionnaire and asked me to answer some questions about my health. After the examination a soldier re-tied and blindfolded me and took me to a room and made me sit on a chair.
Whilst tied and blindfolded someone started asking me questions in good Arabic. He wanted to know my name and where I lived. He also asked me whether I threw any stones from the school. I told him I didn’t throw any stones at anyone. Then he took me to another room and asked me the same questions. He violently hit the table in front of him and turned on an electrical device that sounded like a drill. I was not told that I had any rights. After being questioned I was taken out to a courtyard and made to sit on a bench. I was still tied and blindfolded. I think it was around 6:00 p.m. and I stayed there for about 30 minutes.
Then the same soldier who questioned me before came and took me to a room and started questioning me again, accusing me of throwing stones. I continued to deny the accusation. Then he started to make fun of me and asked me to sing for him. When I refused to sing he started singing himself. I asked the interrogator if I could use the bathroom but at first he refused. I was then left in the room by myself for about an hour-and-a-half. I was not given anything to eat.
When the interrogator returned I again asked to use the bathroom and this time he agreed. A soldier accompanied me to the bathroom and wanted me to use the bathroom while tied and blindfolded. He also wanted to go in with me. I refused and insisted on having him remove the tie and blindfold which he did. After I used the bathroom my hands were re-tied and I was blindfolded. I was then put in the back of a jeep on a seat. The jeep then drove for about an hour.
When the jeep stopped my blindfold was removed and I saw that I was at the police station in Binyamin settlement. I was taken to a small cell where I remained for about 10 minutes. I was still tied. Then I was taken upstairs where they photographed me and took my fingerprints. Then I was taken to an interrogation room.
The interrogator spoke to me in Arabic. He started by telling me that I had the right to silence and that I had the right to see a lawyer. I asked him to call my father to ask him to appoint me a lawyer. The interrogator called my father and told him I was at Binyamin police station. He told my father he had 15 minutes to call a lawyer and ask him to show up at Binyamin. My father told him it was difficult to get a lawyer at such a late hour. He allowed me to speak to my father for a short while but then took the telephone away.
Ten minutes later the telephone rang and I understood it was a lawyer. The interrogator allowed me to speak to the lawyer who told me not to worry. After I spoke to the lawyer on the phone the interrogator accused me of throwing stones at settlers on the main road. I denied the accusation. The interrogator then said that if I was lying to him he was going to let me rot in prison. I continued to deny the accusation. Then the interrogator claimed that soldiers saw me throwing stones. I told him this wasn’t true and that the soldiers were lying. I told him the soldiers beat me. He went out and called two soldiers and asked me whether they were the ones who beat me. I told him I couldn’t tell because I was blindfolded when I was beaten. Then he printed out a document in Hebrew and asked me to sign it which I did.
After the interrogation I was put back in a jeep. I was still tied and blindfolded. The jeep drove for about 30 minutes and stopped at Ofer prison. On arrival at Ofer I was searched and given prison clothes, before being taken to Section 13 where there were other children. The other prisoners brought me some food.
On 5 March 2014 I was taken to Ofer military court. In court I saw my father, my uncle and my lawyer for the first time. I was able to speak to my father in court. The lawyer tried to get me released on bail but the court refused. My case was then adjourned for a week and I went back to prison.
The next time I was in court the military judge agreed to release me on bail. My father had to pay NIS 3,500, which was paid the following day. I was released on 25 March 2014 and my parents were waiting for me outside the prison. I was very happy to be released. A few days later I had to appear in the military court again. I went to court with my father and we were told that the hearing was adjourned until 22 June 2014.