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Testimony: Y.F.Y.M.


Name: Y.F.Y.M.
Age: 14
Date: 29 October 2020
Location: Beit Jala, West Bank
Accusation: Planning to throw Molotov cocktails

On 29 October 2020, a 14-year-old minor from Beit Jala was arrested by Israeli soldiers near a military base at 10:30 p.m. and accused of planning to throw Molotov cocktails. He reports ill treatment and being denied his basic legal rights under Israeli military law. He was sentenced to 2 months in prison and fined NIS 2,000. 

I was with my cousin and a friend walking past the Israeli military base at the entrance to Beit Jala village. It was around 10:30 p.m. Suddenly a group of about 15 soldiers approached us and took us into the military base. A soldier slapped me on the face and forced me to the ground face down. He also swore at me calling me "a son of a whore". My hands were then handcuffed behind my back and the cuffs were tightened hard causing me pain. My legs were also shackled and I was blindfolded with a piece of cloth.
I was left in this position for about two hours before being given a quick medical examination. Then I was taken to a vehicle where I sat on a seat and driven to the police station in Etzion settlement. At around 4:00 a.m. I was interrogated.
The interrogator removed the blindfold and the shackles but kept me handcuffed. Then he asked me what I was doing near the military base at that late hour. Then he told me the boys who were arrested with me had confessed that we were planning to throw a Molotov cocktail at the base. I denied the accusation. The interrogator was aggressive and raised his voice at me. He threatened to arrest my mother if I did not confess and told me he had voice recordings of the two boys confessing against me.
He questioned me for about 30 minutes and did not inform me if my right to silence. After 30 minutes of questioning he phoned a lawyer and I spoke to him. The lawyer asked me what had happened. I told him I was arrested on the street near the military base. The conversation was short and took place without the interrogator being in the room.  
After speaking to the lawyer, I had another interrogation. The second interrogator did not inform me of any rights. He repeated the same accusation. At the end he made me sign a document written in Hebrew. I did not understand what I was signing.
After interrogation I was taken to a cell where I was searched in my boxer shorts. I was left in the cell until the evening and then I was taken to Megiddo prison, inside Israel. I was searched in my boxer shorts and then I was taken to the quarantine section. I spent 26 days there before being transferred to Ofer prison, near Jerusalem. At Ofer I was strip searched and then I was taken to section 13.
During my time at Megiddo I had a military court hearing by video which my mother attended. My detention was extended and the hearing was adjourned. I had five more military court hearings and at the last one, which was four days before I was released, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to two months in prison and fined NIS 2,000. I was also given a suspended sentence but I don't know the details. I accepted the plea bargain because I wanted to go home.
I did not have any family visits because the permit takes months to be issued. In prison I chatted to the other detainees and exercised. I was released on 29 October 2020, and I went home with my mother. We arrived home in the afternoon.