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Testimony: M.H.F.A.


Name: M.H.F.A.
Age: 17
Date of incident: 2 March 2016
Location: Ya'abad, West Bank
Accusation: Incitement (Facebook)

On 2 March 2016, a 17-year-old minor from Ya'abad was arrested by Israeli soldiers from home at 5:00 a.m. and accused of incitement on Facebook. He reports ill treatment and being denied his basic legal rights under Israeli military law. He reports receiving a 3-month administrative detention order and a prison sentence of 7 months. 

I was asleep when I suddenly woke up and found Israeli soldiers in my bedroom standing over me. It was around 5:00 a.m. The soldiers had opened our front door and entered our home while we were still asleep without making noise.
The soldiers turned the light on and asked me for my name. Then they told me to bring my identity card and follow them to the living room. When they checked my name on the identity card they told me I was under arrest and told me to follow them without getting dressed. They took me away in my pajamas. The soldiers did not give my family any documents and did not tell us where they were taking me or why.
Once outside my hands were tied behind my back with two plastic ties; one over the other. The ties were tight. I was then led on foot for about 15 minutes towards the nearby settlement of Dotan. At the entrance to the settlement I was put in the back of a military jeep and made to sit on the metal floor.
The jeep then drove to the military base inside the settlement where I was taken to a courtyard where I sat on the ground. Soldiers then blindfolded me and the commander took me to an interrogation room where he started to question me.
The commander started by asking me for my name and then asked me why I throw stones. He then beat me very hard and told me I was going to see lots of surprises over the coming days. He did not inform me of any rights. He beat me again before he sent me back to the courtyard where I remained until around 6:00 p.m. During this time I wasn’t given any food or water but I was allowed to use the toilet.
At around 6:00 p.m. a doctor then examined me. He removed the blindfold and put it back on when he was done. Then I was taken to the back of the jeep where I sat on the floor again. The jeep drove for about an hour to Huwwara military base. At Huwwara I was strip searched and taken to a room where the ties and the blindfold were removed. I remained at Huwwara for two days.
On the second day soldiers handcuffed me to the front and shackled my ankles and took me to a troop carrier where I sat on a seat. The carrier drove for about two hours to Salem where I was immediately taken to the military court. By this time it was around 9:00 a.m. My parents were not in court because they were not informed but a lawyer was there. The hearing was adjourned. After court I was taken for interrogation at Salem police station.
During the interrogation I was still handcuffed and shackled. Before the interrogator started to question me, he told me I had the right to remain silent and the right to consult with a lawyer. He also called my parents and allowed me to speak to them. I told them I was at Salem and asked them to appoint me a lawyer.
The interrogator then accused me of incitement on Facebook. He showed me some postings and told me they were considered incitement. He then told me I was also accused of throwing stones at soldiers. I was interrogated for about four hours. Two interrogators alternated in interrogating me. Most of the interrogation was about Facebook postings.
The interrogator named some people from the village and asked me whether I knew them and whether I knew whether they throw stones at soldiers. I denied all the allegations. I told the interrogator I wanted to write my statement myself in Arabic and he allowed me to do so and I signed my own statement. Then they took my photograph and my fingerprints and took me into the back of a police car where I sat on a seat. The car drove for about an hour to Megiddo prison, inside Israel. At Megiddo I was taken to the juvenile section.
I had two more military court hearings at Salem which my parents attended and I was able to speak to them. During the second hearing the military judge wanted to release me but the prosecutor informed the court I was going to be put under administrative detention for four days. After court I was taken back to Megiddo prison and the following day I was transferred to Ofer prison, near Jerusalem.
Four days later I was taken to the military court again. My lawyer was told there was secret evidence against me and that my administrative detention was extended for three months. The following day I was transferred back to Megiddo prison.
On 31 May 2016, one day before the end of my administrative detention, I was again taken for interrogation at Salem. Again I was accused of incitement on Facebook. This time the interrogator wanted to check my Facebook profile in order to determine whether I was the owner of a particular Facebook account. I was questioned for three hours and I denied the allegation. Then I was taken to the military court where my detention was extended for 72 hours. I was then taken back to Megiddo prison.
Before the 72 hours were over I was taken back to the military court where I was given the choice of either accepting a six month administrative detention which would include the time I already spent in prison or, plead guilty and accept a seven-month prison sentence. I accepted the plea bargain because I was afraid that the six-month administrative detention order would be extended further. I was then taken back to Megiddo prison.
Later my prison sentence was reduced by 21 days. In prison I studied Arabic and Mathematics. I was released from Megiddo on 11 September 2016 at Salem checkpoint.