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Home » Children »

Testimony: I.F.T.O.


Name: I.F.T.O.
Age: 16
Date: 6 February 2023
Location: Kafr Malek, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones / Molotov cocktails

On 6 February 2023, a 16-year-old minor from Kafr Malek was arrested from home by Israeli soldiers at 3:30 a.m. He reports ill treatment (dog bite) and being denied his basic legal rights under Israeli military law. He was sentenced to 8 months in prison and fined NIS 3,500. He also received a suspended sentence. 

My mother woke up at around 3:30 a.m. when she heard sounds outside our house. She looked out the window and saw a large group of Israeli soldiers in the neighbourhood. She quickly opened the door before the soldiers knocked. About 20 soldiers entered our home. They were all masked except for two. Amongst them were female soldiers which scared my mother. 
I woke up when I heard a dog bark outside our house. I opened my eyes and saw a group of soldiers standing over my head. When I woke up one of the soldiers called the dog and it came running into my bedroom and sniffed me. Then it bit my right hand which hurt. When I pushed the dog away a soldier yelled at me and slapped me on my face. One of the soldiers asked me for my identity card and another told me to get up because I was under arrest. 
My mother started to cry and she pleaded with the soldiers not to take me away. Then, about 30 minutes later, the soldiers took me outside where one of them tied my hands 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 he blindfolded me and took me into the back of a troop carrier. I tried to sit on a seat but a soldier pushed me on the metal floor. He also swore at me and called my mother and sisters "whores". He also swore at my country and my god.
I was taken to a nearby military base where I was left in a room by myself for about 30 minutes. During this time a person came into the room and tried to intimidate me. He shouted in my face and made a gesture as if he was going to pour the glass of water he was holding on me. He also swore at me. 
After about 30 minutes two soldiers took me to another room where I was left until around 4:00 p.m. the following day. I tried to sleep on the floor but I could not sleep because my hand which the dog bit hurt. At around 4:00 p.m. I was taken to a doctor. The doctor looked at my right hand and treated it.
After the medical check I was taken to the police station in Binyamin settlement for interrogation. The interrogator was an Israeli policeman He had a camera in the room. Before questioning me he told me I had the right to appoint a lawyer. He then called a lawyer and handed me the telephone to speak to him. The lawyer told me he was my lawyer and that he would represent me in court. He also told me I had a court hearing the following day. The interrogator was listening to the short conversation on speaker phone. 
Then, without informing me of my right to silence, he accused me of throwing stones and Molotov cocktail at a settler’s car and at a military vehicle. I denied the accusation. He questioned me for about one-and-a-half hours. During the interrogation he offered me a job and promised to pay me NIS 3,000 shekels a month if I worked with him. I refused the offer. 
At the end he asked me to sign a document written in Hebrew. I asked him to tell me what was written in it. He told me it said that I did not say anything and that I did not do anything wrong. He also told me it said I was going to be released in two days. I believed him but I decided not to sign the document. He then threatened to keep me in prison for a long time if I did not sign. Then, when I signed he laughed. I later found out the document said I had thrown stones and Molotov Cocktail. 
After the interrogation I was taken to Ofer military court, near Jerusalem. I was not given any food or water this whole time. When I asked to use the toilet, it was denied. After the court I was taken to Ofer prison. I arrived there at around 8:00 p.m. I was examined again by a doctor and then I was strip searched before being taken to section 13. 
The following day I was taken back to court. My parents did not attend because no one told them I had a hearing. The military judge decided to extend my detention. A day later I was taken back to Binyamin police station for another interrogation. 
This time I was interrogated by a person who wore civilian clothes. He did not call a lawyer for me and did not inform me of my right to silence. He repeated the same accusations and wanted to know the name of the boy whom he claimed was with me during the incident. I refused to give him any names. Then he said he would bring in the boy whom he had mentioned. 
I did not say much during this interrogation. At the end he showed me a pile of documents written in Hebrew and asked me to sign them but I refused to sign. Then, almost at the end of the interrogation, he called a lawyer and put him on speaker phone. The lawyer told me to be careful what I say and that the prosecutor was going to prepare my charge sheet in a couple of days. Then the interrogator asked me to sign documents written in Hebrew but I refused to sign. Then I was taken back to Ofer prison. 
I had about seven military court hearings, the last one was on 5 August 2023. I was sentenced in a plea bargain to eight months in prison and fined NIS 3,500. I was also given a suspended sentence of six months suspended for two years. I accepted this deal because it was better than the 14 months in prison the prosecutor was asking for. 
I spent the whole time at Ofer. I worked at the Cantina and exercised. I also attended classes but they were useless, they did not help me continue my education. My parents visited me four times; the first visit was three months after I had been arrested because it took a long time for the visiting permit to be issued. I was allowed to call home once every two weeks from a phone provided by the prison authority. 
I was released on 5 October 2023. I went home with my father and we arrived home in the evening. I have now left school and work at a horse farm in the village taking care of horses, a hobby I really like.