|26 May 2021
|Qalandia camp, West Bank
On 26 May 2021, a 17-year-old minor from Qalandia refugee camp was arrested by Israeli soldiers from home at 4:30 a.m. He reports ill treatment and being denied his basic legal rights under Israeli military law. He reports being held in solitary confinement for 7 days. He received a 4 month Administrative Detention order.
I came home late at night after spending time with my friends. It was around 4:30 a.m. When I got home I was surprised to see our front door open. As I entered out house an Israeli soldier grabbed me and pushed me inside.
There were lots of soldiers already inside our house. They started to beat me all over my body. I was shocked and terrified. They had blown off our front door and then held my family in one room and did not allow them to leave. One of the soldiers asked me to hand over my telephone but I did not have it with me; I had forgotten it in my friend’s car.
The soldiers told my family I was under arrest but they did not give us any documents. They told my father they wanted to question me about throwing stones and weapon possession and trading in weapons.
Then a soldier tied my hands behind my back with three plastic ties on top of each other. He tightened them hard and my hands swelled and turned blue. He also shackled and blindfolded me. Then they took me outside and walked me all the way to the military base at Al Ram. They kicked and slapped me on the way.
When we arrived at the military base I was left outside in the sun from around 7:00 a.m. until around 4:00 p.m. while they made more arrests. During this time soldiers swore at me and called me "a son of a whore". They did not give me any food and did not allow me to use the toilet but they gave me some water.
At around 4:00 p.m. I was put in a troop carrier which took me to Al Mascobiyeh police station, in West Jerusalem. I was taken to a small cell, about the size of a small bathroom, without windows and with the light on 24 hours. I was left there in solitary confinement for seven days. I was in distress and I could not sleep. I used to cover the light with my shirt in order to sleep but then the guards took away my shirt. The following day I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator wore civilian clothes. He allowed me to speak to a lawyer before the interrogation. The lawyer told me if I wanted to be released I should remain silent during the interrogation. The interrogator was listening to the call which lasted about two minutes.
The interrogator had a voice recorder on his desk. He did not inform me of my right to silence. He accused me of throwing stones and of weapons possession and of trading in weapons and explosives. When I denied the accusations, he yelled at me and told me to confess and threatened to keep me in solitary confinement for a long time. He said if I wanted to get out of solitary confinement I had to confess.
I was questioned for about four hours. The interrogator was aggressive and thumped the table. He told me he wanted to discipline me once and for all. Then he mentioned details about my life which made me think one of my friends had given him. He knew exactly what I had bought from Nablus a couple of days earlier.
At the end he asked me to sign a document in Arabic. I read the document and then I signed. Then he took me back to the cell and told me if I wanted to get out of there I needed to call him and confess.
I was interrogated multiple times. I only spoke to a lawyer before the first interrogation and I was never informed of my right to silence. Each session lasted for about 30 minutes and I was questioned by the same interrogator who accused me of the same accusations. At the end of each interrogation I was asked to sign a document in Arabic. I signed after reading them.
My time in solitary confinement was hard. I used to scream a lot to get the attention of the guards. One day a boy in the opposite cell heard me scream and told me to be patient. He said the maximum time they would keep me in solitary confinement was seven days because I was a minor. This calmed me down and I waited.
I had my first military court hearing on the seventh day. It was conducted on zoom and my parents were not there. I was given a four-month administrative detention. Then I was transferred to Megiddo prison, inside Israel, where I was strip searched before being put in a cell with informants. I was careful and did not give them any information. They pretended to be religious and asked me to pray with them and claimed they knew my father and brother.
I spent my administrative detention at Megiddo prison. I worked in the kitchen to pass the time. I did not have any family visits because my parents were denied a visiting permit for security reasons. I was allowed to call home from a phone provided by the administration twice a month. There were no classes because it was summer holiday.
I was released at Salem checkpoint on 26 September 2021 and I went home with my parents. I arrived home at around 8:00 p.m.
This testimony was produced with the financial support of the German Federal Foreign Office. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Military Court Watch.