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Testimony: A.L.A.T.


Name: A.L.A.T.
Age: 15
Date: 27 July 2022
Location: Beit Fajjar, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones / Molotov cocktail

On 27 July 2022, a 15-year-old minor from Beit Fajjar was arrested by Israeli soldiers from home at 3:00 a.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 2,000.

I woke up when an Israeli soldier asked me for my name at 3:00 a.m. Four soldiers had entered our home while I was asleep and were in my bedroom. One of the soldiers told me to get up because I was under arrest. 
The soldiers did not give my parents any documents or reasons for my arrest. They searched our house without causing any damage. One of the soldiers asked me what I had done and I told him I had done nothing wrong.
About 30 minutes later they took me outside where a soldier tied my hands to the front with two plastic ties on top of each other. The ties were tight and painful and my hands swelled. I still have marks on my wrists six months later. They also arrested my 19-year-old brother at the same time. 
The soldiers led me on a dirt road up a nearby hill all the way to the police station in Etzion settlement. The walk took about an hour. On the way the soldiers beat me on my legs and head and struck me on the back with the butts of their guns. They swore at me and called me "a son of a whore". 
On arrival at Etzion I was blindfolded and left in an outdoor area until around 6:00 a.m. I was not given any food or drink. At around 6:00 a.m. a soldier removed the ties and the blindfold and I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator was dressed in civilian clothes. There was a camera on the wall. He did not phone a lawyer for me and did not inform me of my right to silence. He immediately started to question me and accused me of throwing stones and a Molotov cocktail at the settlement near our village. He asked me for the reason for such acts. I denied the accusation. Then he told me he had photographic evidence against me. I still denied the accusations.
The interrogator then showed me video footage of the incident and I denied I was there. Then he told me my cousin had confessed against me. He was aggressive and thumped the table as he spoke to me. Then he threatened to beat my brother whom they had arrested with me who was waiting outside. Then I heard my brother screaming of pain as someone beat him hard. I later found out they broke my brother’s shoulder and he spent a week at the hospital. 
I was questioned for about three hours but I did not confess; I denied all the accusations. The interrogator forced me to sign a document written Hebrew without translating it for me. He kept insisting and yelling at me telling me to sign until I did.
After the interrogation I was taken to Ofer prison, bear Jerusalem.  We arrived there at around 4:00 p.m. I was taken to the military court and the military judge extended my detention. My parents were not in court because they were not informed about the hearing. Then I was strip searched before being taken to the minors’ section in the prison.
Three days later I was taken for another interrogation, this time at Ofer interrogation centre. It was the same interrogator. He did not call a lawyer and did not inform me of my right to silence. He was aggressive and told me I had to confess. Sometimes he spoke to me in Hebrew in a loud voice and I did not understand what he was saying. 
I was questioned for about two hours and did not sign any documents this time. After the interrogation I was taken back to prison. Eight days later I was transferred to Megiddo prison, inside Israel, where I was strip searched on arrival. I spent the rest of my time in prison there. 
I had six military court hearings. At the last one, which was on 2 January 2023, three days before I was released, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to six months in prison and fined NIS 2,000. I was also given a further 10 months in prison suspended for three years. I accepted the plea bargain because I wanted to go home. After court I was taken back to prison.
The following day I was told I was going to be released. I packed my belongings and then I was taken to the waiting room. Five hours later I was told they had made a mistake and took me back to prison. This happened again the following day; I was told I was going to be released and after waiting for about five hours I was sent back to prison again. I felt devastated as I walked back to my cell again. Thankfully, on the third day, I was released. 
I was released at Salem checkpoint on 5 January 2023. My parents were not informed of my release so I took a taxi to a village near Jerusalem and then I called my father and he picked me up. I arrived home at around 9:00 p.m.  
In prison I exercised and helped in the kitchen which kept me busy. I lifted weights and attended classes in Arabic, Hebrew and Mathematics. I had two family visits and was able to call home twice a month from a telephone provided by the prison authorities. 
I want to take a few days off and then I want to go back to school. I am in tenth grade.