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Testimony: A.M.Y.S.


Name:  A.M.Y.S.
Age:  16
Date:  30 May 2022
Location:  Hebron, West Bank
Accusation:  Attending a protest / throwing stones

On 30 May 2022, a 16-year-old minor from Hebron was arrested by Israeli soldiers during clashes at 2:30 p.m. He reports ill-treatment and being denied his full legal rights under Israeli military law. He was sentenced to 6 months in prison and fined NIS 8,000. 

At the time of my arrest there were clashes with Israeli soldiers during a protest. It was around 2:30 p.m. I was suddenly grabbed by three soldiers and was beaten in my stomach with the rifle butt which hurt. They also swore at me calling me "a son of a whore". 
The soldiers pushed me to the ground and 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 caused me a lot of pain. They left marks on my wrists for a few days. They also blindfolded me. 
After I was tied and blindfolded the soldiers led me for about 30 minutes towards the nearby settlement of Hagai. The soldiers slapped and kicked me on the way. I was left on the ground inside the settlement until around 3:00 a.m. At around 3:00 a.m. I was put in a vehicle and driven to the police station in Kiryat Arba settlement. The drive took about 10 minutes. When we arrived at the settlement I was immediately taken for interrogation.
The interrogator wore civilian clothes and had a voice recorder on his desk. He phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him before he started to question me. The lawyer wanted to know why I was arrested and I told him for stone throwing during a protest. The lawyer advised me not to confess and to request that they check the CCTV cameras in the areas to prove my innocence. He spoke to me for about a minute and told me to take care of myself. The interrogator was listening to the conversation because he put me on speaker phone. 
The interrogator did not inform me of my right to remain silent. Instead, he told me I had to answer all his questions. Then he questioned me about throwing stones during the protest. I told him I did not throw stones at anyone. Then he accused me of taking part in illegal protests over a period of four days and accused me of throwing a Molotov cocktail at settler cars. I denied the accusations and told him I was at work during the other protests. 
The interrogator was mostly calm. At one point he threatened to keep me in prison for five years if I did not confess. I continued to deny the accusation. He then showed me video footage of the protests and accused me of taking part. I continued to deny the accusation. He questioned me for about three hours and wanted me to give him names of other boys who took part in the protest. 
At the end of the interrogation he asked me to sign some documents written in Hebrew. He read them out to me and translated them. The documents said I had spoken to a lawyer and that there was a voice recorder in the room and that I was interrogated. I signed after the translation.
After the interrogation I was taken somewhere for a quick medical examination and then I was driven to the police station in Etzion settlement. I was put in a cell with another boy for nine days. During this time, I had a military court hearing which my parents did not attend. My detention was extended. After nine days at Etzion I was taken to Ofer prison, near Jerusalem. I was strip searched before being taken to the minors’ section.
Eight days later I was taken for another interrogation. I was not allowed to speak to a lawyer and I was not informed of my rights. The interrogator wanted me to tell him whether another boy whom he named had thrown stones. He told me he wanted to know because he was about to release him and wanted to know from me whether he had been throwing stones or not. I told him he had not. I later found out that that boy had confessed against me. The interrogator asked me to sign a document in Hebrew. I signed after he translated it for me.
I had about 10 military court hearings. At the last one, which was on 6 July 2022, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to six months in prison and fined NIS 8,000. I was also given another 24 months in prison suspended for three years. I accepted the plea bargain because it was the best my lawyer was able to get. He told me I would spend more time in prison if I rejected it. 
I spent the rest of my prison sentence at Ofer where I played table tennis and exercised. My parents visited me three times and I was able to call home from a telephone provided by the prison authorities twice a month for 15 minutes each time. 
I had a special court session in Ramleh, Israel where I was granted early release. I was released on 12 September 2022 at Beit Sira checkpoint. My parents did not know I was going to be released early so they were not there to take me home. I took a taxi home. I arrived home just after midnight. 
I did not go back to school after I was released, instead I enrolled at a vocational school where I am learning how to lay tiles.