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Testimony: R.Y.A.J.


Name:  R.Y.A.J.
Age:  17
Date:  10 June 2019
Location:  Sa'ir, West Bank
Accusation:  Throwing stones/Molotovs

On 10 June 2019, a 17-year-old minor from Sa'ir was arrested after complying with multiple summonses to attend an interrogation and accused of throwing Molotov cocktails. He reports ill treatment and being denied his basic legal rights under Israeli military law. He reports being sentenced to 2 months in prison and fined NIS 2,000. He also received a suspended sentence. 

On 6 May 2019, Israeli soldiers raided our home at around 3:00 a.m. They asked my father for me and when he told them I was not home they gave him a summons and asked him to bring me to the police station by 8:00 a.m. the same day.

Later that morning I went with my father to the police station in Etzion settlement as ordered. My father and I waited from morning till evening and then we were told to go home.

A week later I was staying at my friend’s house when a group of soldiers raided our home again. It was 2:00 a.m. and they were looking for me. When they did not find me they told my father to bring me to the police station in the morning. My father tried to explain to them that we did go to the police station as requested the week before and we were sent home but the soldiers did not speak Arabic and they did not understand what my father told them.

Later that morning I went with my father to the police station as ordered but again we were told to go away and come back in two day. Two days later I went with my father to the police station but we were told to come back in three days. This time my father and I decided not to go because it was taking too much of my father’s time for nothing.

On 9 June 2019, the Area Commander rang my father at 8:00 a.m. and told him to bring me to the police station. My father took me to the police station the next day, 10 June 2019, at 8:00 a.m. as ordered. I was taken inside but my father was not allowed to accompany me and he was told to go home.

The interrogator asked me whether I knew why I was at his office. I told him I did not. He did not inform me of my rights and accused me of lying and claimed I knew exactly why I was in his office. Then he accused me of throwing stones and Molotov cocktail on Route 60. He wanted me to confess and threatened to arrest my father and brother if I did not. He also threatened to bring in soldiers to beat me up.

Then he told me there were confessions against me by people from my village. When I refused to confess he tied my hands to the back very painfully and blindfolded me. Then he took me to another room and told me to kneel down facing the wall. Then he beat me on my back and legs and arms and pushed me down to sit on my legs. Then he left the room for a short time.

When the interrogator returned to the room he told me to stand up and he then punched me in the chest. Then he took me back to the first room, removed the tie and the blindfold and told me he had could wait until the following evening but he was not going to leave me alone until I confessed.

About half-way through the interrogation I told the interrogator I wanted to speak to a lawyer. He then phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me not to be scared of the interrogator and told me not to volunteer information and not to speak about things he does not ask me about. He told me to remain silent and not to confess and said it is better to be in pain for an hour rather than confess. The interrogator remained in the room and overheard the conversation with the lawyer which lasted about a minute.

Then another interrogator came in and asked me to follow him. He took me to another room and started to address me calmly. He did not inform me of my rights and asked me if I wanted to drink anything. Then he started to read off his computer screen and wanted me to answer him with a “yes or no”. He named someone from my village and told me he had told him I threw stones. He named two more people and told me they said the same thing about me. When I denied the accusation he lost his temper and accused me of lying. He raised his voice and swore at me and called me “a son of a whore” and “a brother of a whore”.

After the verbal abuse the second interrogator showed me documents in Hebrew and asked me to sign them but I refused to sign. The he tied my hands painfully behind my back and blindfolded me again and told me I had a military court hearing on Thursday. The two interrogations lasted for about two hours.

After the interrogation I was taken out of the room where I sat on a chair while tied and blindfolded for about three hours. I fell asleep for some of the time. Then I was taken to Ofer prison, near Jerusalem. The trip to Ofer took many hours. At Ofer I was strip searched before being taken to section 13.

Two days later I had a military court hearing. I was denied bail and the hearing was adjourned. I had four hearings and at the last one I was initially sentenced in a plea bargain to three months in prison. My family decided to pay NIS 2,000 to reduce my sentence by two months. I was also given a suspended sentence but I do not know the details. I accepted the plea bargain because I wanted to go back to school as soon as possible.

I was released on 11 July 2019 and I went home with my father. I arrived home late in the evening.