|2 July 2019
|Jayyus, West Bank
On 2 July 2019, a 16-year-old minor from Jayyus was arrested by Israeli soldiers from home at 2:30 a.m. and accused of throwing stones. He reports being denied his basic legal rights under Israeli military law. He reports being sentenced to 1 month in prison and fined NIS 2,000. He also received a suspended sentence.
My friend woke me up with a text message to say Israeli soldiers were in our neighbourhood. It was around 2:30 a.m. I looked out the window and saw a group of soldiers on the street. The commander saw me and asked me for my name and then told me to come down because I was under arrest.
I went inside, took a shower and put some clothes on while the soldiers waited for me in the stairwell; they did not enter our home. I was then taken outside by the soldiers who did not tell me the reason for my arrest and without giving me or my family any documents.
Once outside a soldier tied my hands to the front with one plastic tie which was not painful. Then he blindfolded me and took me to the back of a military jeep and allowed me to sit on a seat.
The jeep drove to the nearby military base at Zufin where I was taken to a room and examined by a doctor. The doctor removed the blindfold during the examination. Then I was re-blindfolded and shackled and taken to the jeep which took me to the settlement of Qedumim for interrogation.
The interrogator removed the blindfold but kept the tie and the shackles on. He spoke politely and showed me some photographs and video footage of clashes and accused me of taking part. He told me the footage and photographs were of clashes on 16 January 2018, during the funeral of a young person from the village who was killed by Israeli soldiers. I denied the accusation.
The interrogator did not inform me of my rights but I knew from a training we had at school that I had the right to remain silent. When the interrogator repeated the accusation I told him I wanted to exercise my right to remain silent. I did not say anything and he repeated the accusation again.
Then he lost his temper when I refused to answer his question and shouted at me and told me to speak. He banged the table aggressively and shouted again telling me to speak. I just nodded and did not say a word.
The interrogation lasted for about two-and-a-half hours. During this time the interrogator took me outside and questioned the other person who was arrested with me. Then he questioned me again. I think he was comparing our testimonies. I continued to deny the accusation and did not confess. He showed me many photographs and two videos and pointed to a person and claimed it was me but I denied it.
Then he showed me a document in Hebrew and asked me to sign it but I told him I was not going to sign anything written in a language I did not understand. He then printed out the document in Arabic. The Arabic document said I had the right to remain silent and the right to consult with a lawyer. This was at the end of the interrogation. He asked me to sign the document and I did.
Then I was blindfolded again and taken to Huwwara military base where I was searched in my underwear and taken into a cell. They removed the blindfold and the tie and the shackles and gave me some unappetising food; old rice and a hard-boiled egg which had turned blue. I spent one night at Huwwara.
In the morning I was taken to Salem military court. At court I saw a lawyer for the first time. Nobody from my family was in court because they were not informed of the hearing. The lawyer spoke and the military judge spoke and a soldier was translating but I did not understand much. The hearing was adjourned and I was taken to Megiddo prison, inside Israel, where I was searched in my underwear before being taken to the juvenile section. I arrived there at around 2:30 p.m.
The following day I had another hearing and another one the day after. My lawyer told me to accept a plea bargain and to confess to throwing stones during the clashes. He also told me to say I was young at the time and was not fully aware of what I was doing. I accepted the plea bargain and I was sentenced to one month and one day in prison and fined NIS 2,000. I was also given a suspended sentence of six months valid for two years.
I qualified for an early release and I was released on 19 July 2019. My family did not visit me in prison because the permit to visit takes at least two months. I was released at Al Jalama and I went home with my uncle.