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Testimony: N.A.Z.Y.


Name: N.A.Z.Y.
Age: 17
Date: 20 June 2023
Location: ****, West Bank
Accusation: Terrorist activity / banned organisation

On 20 June 2023, a 17-year old minor from **** was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 4:00 a.m. from home. He reports ill-treatment. He consulted with a lawyer prior to interrogation but was not informed of his right to silence. He was given two administrative detention orders and was released after a prisoner exchange deal.

I was arrested from home at arounds 4:00 a.m. I was asleep and I woke up to the sound of Israeli soldiers breaking our front door. They did not wait for us to open up. About 30 soldiers came into our home. 
One of the soldiers approached me and asked me for my name. He also wanted to know if I had a mobile phone. The soldiers then searched our house for my phone and turned everything upside down. One soldier then told me to put my shoes on and then he tied my hands behind my back with metal handcuffs. They were tight and painful. They told me I was under arrest but they did not give my family any documents. 
About 15 minutes later the soldiers took me on foot to the entrance of our refugee camp where they blindfolded me and put me in the back of a military jeep and made me sit on the metal floor between the soldiers’ legs. Inside the jeep the soldiers beat me all over my body. 
I was taken to the nearby military base at the District Coordination Office (DCO). The soldiers stopped for about 10 minutes and then continued on to the police station in Etzion settlement. 
At Etzion I was taken to a shipping container where I was left for about three hours. During this time the commander came by and spoke to me and told me I was going to be given a two-year administrative detention order. He did not say why and did not inform me of my rights. Then I was taken to Ofer prison, near Jerusalem. I was strip searched before being taken into section 13. Two days later I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator was dressed in civilian clothes. Before questioning me, he phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me I was going to be taken to court and that the military commander was going to issue an administrative detention order against me. The conversation was very short and the interrogator was listening on speaker phone.
The interrogator told me I was suspected of being involved in terrorist activities and that I was "a danger to the security of the Area". He also accused me of membership of a banned organisation. I denied the accusations because they were not true. He questioned me for about an hour and was calm most of the time. He did not inform me of my right to silence. At the end he wanted me to sign a document. I refused to sign even before I saw the document; I do not know what language it was written in.
After the interrogation I was taken to Ofer military court. My cousin and aunt-in-law attended and my detention was extended for 72 hours. After court I was taken back to prison. At my second military court hearing I was handed a four-month administrative detention order. Although I was expecting it I was still devastated because it was so unfair. There were no charges and I was unable to defend myself. I was worried they would renew the order after four months. Not knowing when I would be released was a hard thing to cope with.
In September 2023 I was given an extension to the order. They extended the order by three more months. This was about a month before the first four-month order expired. I was devastated. Luckily, I was released in the prisoners’ exchange deal before the end of the second extension. 
On the day of my release I was told I was taken for another interrogation which was worrying. Instead, I was taken for a meeting with the Israeli intelligence officer for my area who told me I was going to be released. He told me he approved my release because he wanted to give me a second chance in life. He told me he was going to re-arrest me if I raised flags or celebrated my release at home. 
In prison we heard about the war but not much. We picked up some news from here and there but things were not clear because the prison authorities took away our radios and television sets. They also stopped family visits. We were disconnected for the outside world. Before the war I had three family visits, but then they stopped them after 7 October. 
After the war condition inside the prison worsened. The food quantity was not enough and they closed the Cantina so we were not allowed to buy more food or other supplies. They took away the cleaning supplies so we could not clean our cells. They refused to put back the window panels, even during cold weather.
I was released on 25 November 2023. My family knew about my release the day before. My uncle and his wife picked me up from Ramallah and took me home. I arrived home at around 4:30 a.m. 
Now I want to sit for my Tawjihi exams privately; I missed a lot of school days while in prison and cannot go back to school, so my only option to take the exam is to study at home by myself. 
* Some information in this testimony has been concealed as some minors report being threatened if they speak publicly about their experience in prison following their release as part of the prisoner swap deal post 7 October 2023.