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Testimony: M.M.M.Q.


Name: M.M.M.Q.
Age: 16
Date: 29 November 2020
Location: Al 'Arrub camp, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones/Molotov cocktails
On 29 November 2020, a 16-year-old minor from Al 'Arrub refugee camp was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 8:00 a.m. and accused of throwing Molotov cocktails. He reports ill treatment. He reports consulting with a lawyer prior to interrogation but not being informed of his right to silence by the interrogator. He was released on NIS 3,000 bail, 27 days later. 
At around 8:00 a.m. I walked my younger sister to school and then stopped by a falafel shop to buy a sandwich. There were lots of boys queuing in line and things were quiet. Suddenly two Israeli military jeeps drove towards us and the soldiers started to fire tear gas and stun grenades. Everyone scattered in all directions and I ran as fast as I could. 
A military jeep followed me and hit me causing me to fall to the ground. Luckily, I was not hurt. I got up quickly and ran into a nearby house. The woman inside the house showed me the way to the back door but I could not open it and I climbed the stairs up to the roof. 
A minute later two soldiers and a commander came up to the roof and started to beat me. The commander struck me hard with the back of his gun on my jaw which caused me a lot of pain. When I asked him to stop he beat me twice more on the same place. I was bleeding from my face.
Then the soldiers dragged me down the stairs and took me outside. A soldier made me take off my T-shirt and he wiped the blood off my face. He made me stand on the side of the street and lots of people who were there saw the blood and tried to intervene to get me released. Many were taking photos and videos with their mobile phones. The commander threatened to spray them with tear gas and told them to move back. 
About 10 minutes later the commander took me to the back of a jeep and told me he could not beat me in front of all the people who were taking photos. He told me he was going to "finish me off" inside the jeep. He tied my hands behind my back with one plastic tie and tightened it very hard. The tie was very painful and left marks on my wrists for days. He blindfolded me and covered my mouth and nose with a mask and made me sit on the metal floor. 
The jeep then drove away and boys and young men pelted it with stones. Each time a stone hit the jeep the soldiers kicked and slapped me. They also swore at me and spat on me. I was bleeding heavily and asked for tissues but they said they did not have any.
The jeep drove to the gate at the entrance to the refugee camp. The commander removed the blindfold and the mask and took a photo of me. My father came and asked the soldiers to release me because I was bleeding. The commander made fun of him and told him to take off his trousers. 
I was then transferred to another vehicle and taken to the settlement of Karmi Tzur. I was left in an outdoor area for a short time and then I was taken to the police station in Etzion settlement. I was left in a courtyard for about eight hours and soldiers slapped and kicked me as they passed by. I was tied and blindfolded and I was not given any food or drink. I had to beg the soldiers to allow me to use the toilet. At around 4:00 p.m. I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator removed the tie and the blindfold and handed me a phone and told me to speak to a lawyer. The lawyer told me not to worry and said I had the right to remain silent. I spoke to him for less than a minute and the interrogator was standing next to me listening. The interrogator saw that I was bleeding but did not say or do anything.
Then, without informing me of my right to silence, the interrogator told me I was suspected of throwing a Molotov cocktail at soldiers. I denied the accusation. He told me my friends had already confessed against me. He named two friends and told me the incident happened in May and that two soldiers also testified against me. He was calm but told me if I continued to be stubborn and deny the accusation he was going to lock me up in prison for a long time. He questioned me for about an hour. He did not ask me to sign any documents.
After the interrogation I was left outside for about an hour and then I was taken for another interrogation. The second interrogator did not call a lawyer for me and did not inform me of my right to silence. He was aggressive and thumped the table. He accused me of throwing a Molotov cocktail at soldiers. I denied the accusation. Then he said by denying the accusation I am telling him that his soldiers were liars. 
The interrogator then named two boys and told me they had testified against me. I told him I did not know the persons he named. He questioned me for about 10 minutes and at the end he took my fingerprints electronically. I asked him why did he take my fingerprints and he told me it was to sign on the statement I gave him. I asked him whether it was accurate and he told me it was. 
Then I was taken outside where I was examined by a doctor. The doctor asked me whether I was in contact with anyone who had Covid-19. The doctor saw that I was bleeding and gave me a questionnaire in Arabic with a question about whether I had been beaten by soldiers. I circled that question. 
Then I was left outside until around midnight. I was cold and asked a soldier to allow me to go inside. He refused. Then another soldier came by and he took me into a kitchen. I sat on the floor and then I tried to sleep but I could not. I was tied and blindfolded and I was left in the kitchen for about three hours. At around 3:00 a.m. I was taken to Hadassah hospital.
I arrived in the emergency room at the hospital at around 4:00 a.m. I was given a pain killer and they took an X-Ray of my jaw but no one told me anything. Then a nurse, who spoke Arabic, asked me for my father’s number. She told me they needed to call him and ask him to come to the hospital to sign a document authorizing them to operate on me. I was shocked when I heard I was going to have surgery. 
I was then taken to a room with another patient who spoke Arabic. He told me he heard the doctors say I had five fractures in my jaw. By this time my jaw was swollen and I was in severe pain. I was tied to the bed and one of the soldiers who beat me when I was arrested was in the hospital room guarding me.  
When my father came to the hospital the guard did not allow him to come into my room. My father saw me in bed and was very upset. I was given a drip in my arm and only then did they remove the tie to the bed and tied my two hands to the front. Then they told me I had to fast before they could operate on me. I did not have the surgery for another four days. During this time a lawyer visited me. He told me I had had a military court hearing which he attended. 
On the fourth day they operated on me. I was told the doctors had to hold my jaw in place with platinum implants. Twelve hours after the surgery I was taken to the quarantine section at Megiddo prison, inside Israel, where I was left in a room by myself for three days. There were cameras in the room and in the bathroom. I could not go to the toilet without being filmed. During this time they gave me special liquid food because I could not chew. 
Then I was transferred to another room with other detainees I was left there for 18 days. During this time, I was taken twice to the hospital for a checkup. The trip to the hospital was exhausting and took four hours each way. I also had three military court hearings via video link. The hearings took five minutes and I did not understand what went on. My father attended the hearings.
Later I was taken to Ofer prison, near Jerusalem. On arrival at Ofer I was strip searched before being taken to section 13. I had five more military court hearings. At the last one, which was on 24 December 2020, the military judge asked me if I was going to throw stones ever again. I told him I was a good student and I wanted to study and get a high average.  
I had a second hearing on the same day which I did not attend. My lawyer told me the judge decided to release me on bail. He told me my father had to pay NIS 3,000 in bail. He also told me I had another court hearing on 6 January 2021 which I had to attend. 
I was released at Al Jib checkpoint on 25 December 2020, but my parents were told to wait for me at Ofer. I saw a taxi driver and I asked him to use his telephone to call my father. My parents arrived and we got home at around 1:00 p.m. I can now eat and talk but my jaw still hurts and I sometimes feel numbness. My doctor in Hebron tells me we have to wait and see what kind of treatment I will need.