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Testimony: M.Y.M.L.


Name: M.Y.M.L.
Age: 16
Date: 6 January 2020
Location: Beit Fajjar, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing Molotov cocktails

On 6 January 2020, a 16-year-old minor from Beit Fajjar was arrested by Israeli soldiers from home at 3:30 a.m. 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 14 months in prison and fined NIS 2,000. He also received a suspended sentence. 

I was asleep when Israeli soldiers banged at our front door. It was at around 3:30 a.m. My father opened the door and about 15 masked soldiers entered our home. The commander approached me and told me to hand over the weapons in my possession. I told him I did not have any weapons.
Then the commander gave my father a document filled out in Hebrew with details about my arrest. Then I was taken outside where a soldier tied my hands behind my back with two plastic ties on top of each other. The ties were so tight that my wrists bled. He also blindfolded me. I was then taken to a troop carrier and made to sit on the metal floor. 
Inside the troop carrier the soldiers kicked and slapped me, spat at me and called me "a son of a whore". I was taken to the police station in Etzion settlement where I was left in a room by myself until around 11:30 a.m. During this time soldiers slapped me and a doctor gave me a quick medical examination. Then I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator removed the ties and the blindfold. He handed me a phone and told me to speak to a lawyer. The lawyer told me not to confess and that I had the right to remain silent. The conversation was short, probably less than a minute, and the interrogator was listening.  
Then the interrogator accused me of shooting and throwing a Molotov cocktail. He did not inform me of my right to silence. He told me the incident happened either in November or December 2019. When I denied the accusation, the interrogator yelled at me and told me to confess. He pushed the chair I was sitting on and I fell to the ground. 
Then he told me my friends had confessed against me. Then I asked him if I could go to the toilet and he allowed me. On the way I saw my friends and they told me they had not been interrogated yet and I realised the interrogator was lying to me.
When I returned from the toilet the interrogator threatened to arrest my brothers and told me he had photographic evidence against me. Still, I denied the accusation. He questioned me for about an hour and at the end I confessed to throwing Molotov cocktail at soldiers. Then he showed me a document written in Hebrew and asked me to sign it and I did.
After the interrogation I was fingerprinted and then I was searched in my boxer shorts before being taken to a cell where I spent three days with other boys. The following day I was taken for another interrogation.  Before questioning me, the interrogator told me to remain silent while he spoke. He accused me of the same accusations. After the interrogation was over two lawyers came and took a testimony from me. Then I was taken to Ofer prison, near Jerusalem, where I was strip searched and taken to section 19.
The following day I had a military court hearing which my grandfather and mother attended. My detention was extended and the hearing was adjourned. The following day I was told I had another hearing but it turned out I had another interrogation.
The interrogator did not allow me to speak to a lawyer and did not inform me of my right to silence. He accused me of the same accusations and told me he just wanted to confirm them. Again, I confessed to throwing a Molotov cocktail. He was calm and questioned me for about 30 minutes. At the end he asked me to sign a document written in both Arabic and Hebrew and I signed. Then I was taken back to prison.
I had about 15 military court hearings and at the last one, which was on 21 July 2020, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to 14 months in prison and fined NIS 2,000. I was also given a suspended sentence of one year suspended for five years. I accepted the plea bargain because my lawyer told me I would receive a harsher sentence if I rejected it.  
I spent my prison sentence at Ofer and I had four family visits. I was also able to call my family from a pay phone provided by the prison authority on average twice a month. In prison I exercised and attended classes in Arabic, Hebrew and Mathematics.
I was released at Ofer checkpoint on 7 February 2021, and I went home with another family. I arrived home at around 6:30 p.m.