|7 March 2022
|Al Khader, West Bank
On 7 March 2022, a 15-year-old minor from Al Khader was arrested by Israeli soldiers from home at 3:00 a.m. and accused of throwing stones. He reports being denied his basic legal rights under Israeli military law. He was sentenced to 3 months in prison and fined NIS 1,000. He also received a suspended sentence.
My mother woke me up at around 3:00 a.m. and told me Israeli soldiers were in our neighbourhood. Soon afterwards I heard loud banging at the front door. My sister opened the door and about 10 soldiers entered our home. I could not believe what was happening.
One of the soldiers asked me for my name and then told me to prepare myself because I was under arrest. My mother was upset and she tried to protect me but a soldier pushed her back aggressively. He also kicked my uncle who also tried to intervene.
As soon as I was dressed I was dragged outside where a military jeep was waiting. 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 the jeep where I sat on a seat. The jeep took me to the nearby military base at the entrance to the village of Beit Jala.
On arrival at the base I was taken to a room with some other boys where we remained until around 5:30 a.m. At around 5:30 a.m. I was taken to the police station in Etzion settlement where I waited in a room until around noon before being taken for interrogation.
A soldier removed the tie and the blindfold before I was taken to the interrogation room. The interrogator was in civilian clothes. I told the interrogator I wanted to speak to a lawyer. He first allowed me to speak to my mother and then he phoned a lawyer for me. Before I said a word to the lawyer, the interrogator hung up and told me I had already spoken to my mother which was enough.
Then, without informing me of my right to silence, the interrogator told me I had to be frank with him and tell him everything. Then he offered me some coffee and I accepted it. Then he accused me of setting a settler car on fire and of throwing stones and a Molotov cocktail on Route 60. I denied the accusations. He ignored my answers and asked me who else was with me at the time.
Later the interrogator told me my friends had confessed against me. I continued to deny the accusations. Then he changed his attitude and became angry. He threatened to leave me in prison for a long time if I did not confess. Then he made me stand against the wall and asked me whether I was going to tell him the truth. He told me that all Israel needs is stability and peace and people like me disturb the peace. He kept pressing me to confess and told me otherwise I would spend three years in prison. He shouted at me and accused me of throwing a Molotov cocktail. When I told him I had no idea how to make a Molotov cocktail he told me exactly how to make one.
In the end I confessed to throwing one stone at a military jeep from a distance of 20 meters. He told me I was a liar and asked me whether I threw only one stone. I told him I threw two stones. He accused me of lying again. In the end I confessed to throwing seven stones.
The interrogator questioned me for about 45 minutes. At the end he asked me to sign documents in Hebrew. When I refused to sign something I did not understand he told me it was my statement and insisted that I should sign - so I signed.
After the first interrogation I was taken to see another interrogator in another room. This one did not allow me to speak to a lawyer and did not inform me of my right to silence. This interrogator wanted me to confess against other boys and in return he implied I would be released. I did not believe him. He questioned me for about 30 minutes and all he wanted from me was a confession against other boys. I did not confess against anyone. He did not ask me to sign any documents.
After the second interrogation I was tied and blindfolded and taken to another room where they made me stand against a wall for about three hours. Then two female soldiers walked me around the police station for a long time. They made me walk slowly, up and down stairs, sat me down then walked me again. I was tied and blindfolded and found it difficult to walk. When I pulled the blindfold down a soldier put it back on aggressively. They walked me aimlessly for a long time.
Then I was taken to the main gate where I was left on the ground for about two hours. I was with another boy and a young man. Then they took the boy and the man away and left me by myself for another two hours. Then I was taken into a troop carrier to Ofer prison, near Jerusalem. At Ofer I was strip searched before being taken to section 13.
About a week later I was taken for a third interrogation. This time I was allowed to speak to a lawyer before I was questioned. The lawyer told me to be careful what I say and to think before I say anything. The interrogator was listening to the conversation with the lawyer which lasted less than two minutes. Then the interrogator allowed me to speak to my mother who told me not to confess.
After I spoke to my mother thee interrogator told me not to listen to my mother's advice. He accused me of the same accusations without informing me of my right to silence. He told me to confess to all the accusations and to repeat what I had told the first interrogator. I denied everything and told him I confessed to the first interrogator because I was scared and sleep deprived and because he put me under pressure. He was calm and questioned me for about 30 minutes and asked me to sign a document in Hebrew and I did. After the interrogation I was taken to a waiting room before being taken back to Ofer.
My first military court hearing was on my second day at Ofer. It was conducted on zoom and my mother and grandfather attended. My detention was extended. I had four more hearings. At the last one, which was on the day of my release, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to three months in prison and fined NIS 1,000. I was also given another four months in prions suspended for a year. My parents also paid another NIS 3,000 to reduce my sentence.
I was released on 21 March 2022 and I went home with my parents and other relatives. I was released at Ofer and I arrived home at around midnight.