|4 October 2022
|Beit Sira, West Bank
On 4 October 2022, a 14-year-old minor from Beit Sira was arrested by Israeli soldiers from home at 3:00 a.m. He reports ill-treatment. He reports consulting with a lawyer briefly prior to interrogation but not being informed of his right to silence. He reports being sentenced to 3 months in prison and fined NIS 2,000.
Israeli soldiers broke down our front door at around 3:00 a.m. They did not wait for my father to open up. He was right behind the door when it was broken and the soldiers aggressively pushed him aside even though he is handicapped.
A large number of soldiers entered our home along with a person who was wearing a Balaklava so they could not be identified. The person wearing the Balaklava showed the soldiers the way to our house. Some of the soldiers went straight to my bedroom. They shone the torch lights on their guns at me and told me to get out of bed.
The soldiers put my family into one room and did not allow them to leave. They told my brother, who shares the bedroom with me, to get out and then they started to beat me without any provocation. One of the soldiers then asked me for my mobile phone and identity card. I told him I was too young to have an identity card but he did not believe me and continued to beat me on my arms, shoulders and back. Then he took my father’s mobile phone.
Then one of the soldiers told me I was under arrest. He gave my father a document filled out in Hebrew, asked him to sign it and then he took it away. They did not allow me to put on proper clothes and dragged me outside in my shorts and under shirt. The soldiers prevented my parents from following me. My younger brother, who was eight, was terrified.
Once outside a soldier tied my hands behind my back with two plastic ties on top of each other. He tightened them and I was in severe pain. Then he blindfolded me and walked me to where the jeeps were waiting. On the way the soldiers continued to beat me with the back of their guns and kick me, as well as swearing at me. They called me "a son of a whore".
The soldiers made me stand by one of the military jeeps and a soldier beat me on my shoulder and neck for no reason. I did not resist or say anything, still he beat me up. Someone accused me of throwing stones at soldiers and wanted to know why I did that. Then I was pushed into the back of a jeep and made me kneel on the metal floor. A soldier pushed my head down with his boots and caused me pain.
The jeep drove to a nearby checkpoint where I was given a quick medical examination. The doctor asked me some questions and wanted to know if I had any illnesses. Then I was taken to a deserted area I did not recognize where I was left sitting on a rock. It was cold. Then the alarm on my father’s phone, which a soldier had taken, went off so I knew it was 6:30 a.m.
About two hours later I was put in a troop carrier which took me to the police station in Binyamin settlement. At Binyamin the soldiers made me sit on a bench and brought me a Coke and a Tuna sandwich. Then a soldier removed the ties and the blindfold and I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator was in civilian clothes. He had a voice recorder on his desk. He asked me if I wanted to speak to a lawyer. I thought a lawyer would cost money which my father cannot afford. I told the interrogator I could not afford a lawyer but he told he would call a lawyer paid for by an NGO. Then he called a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me to tell the interrogator I only go to school and back, nowhere else. The call was on speakerphone and the interrogator heard everything.
Then, without informing me of my right to silence, he accused me of going with some friends to throw stones at a security car. I denied the accusation. He gave me a specific date and told me my friends had confessed against me. Then he played a voice recording of my friends confessing against me and showed me their signatures on their confession documents.
The interrogator questioned me for about two hours and told me I had to confess. He told me lying was not good for me and he wanted me to be frank and straightforward with him. He was aggressive when he said these things but then he changed his mood and became calm and polite. He told me he would bring me cigarettes and food if I confessed. He also told me if I confessed against my friends he would send me home.
At the end he wanted me to sign electronically on an iPad. I signed one page and refused to sign any more. The text was in Hebrew.
After the interrogation was over I was taken to the police station in Etzion settlement where I was left for five hours in a cell by myself. Then an old person with a beard was brought in. He was weird and did not speak to me. He did not return my greeting and I was suspicious of him although he gave me his food. Then a walkie talky fell out of his pocket and he freaked out. He called the guards as if I had attacked him and they took him out immediately.
Later two other people were brought in. One of them claimed I was a collaborator, the other disagreed. He said I had done what I did to defend my country and that it was a noble cause. Then he told me he had killed a soldier and that he was sentenced to 15 years in prison. I told him I had only thrown two stones at soldiers, nothing compared to what he had done. Then the two men were taken out.
Later I was strip searched and taken to the minors’ section at Ofer prison, near Jerusalem.
My first military court hearing was two days after my arrest. My parents did not attend because they were not informed and my detention was extended. I had about eight hearings.
At the last hearing, which was about two weeks before I was released, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to 3 months in prison and fined NIS 2,000. I was also given a suspended sentence for three years. I accepted the deal because the prosecutor wanted to keep me in prison for 19 months. My parents needed me and I wanted to go home.
I was given early release after signing a document saying I regret what I had done and would never repeat it again. I went home on 4 December 2022.
I was dropped off at Al Jib checkpoints but my parents were not there because they were not informed of my early release. I called my father from someone’s phone and he started to cry when he heard my voice. I took a taxi to my aunt’s home nearby and the following day my mother picked me up and took me home.
In prison I passed the time chatting to the other prisoners. I did not have any family visits because the visiting permit was not issued in time.
Until this day my parents are unable to fix the front door because they cannot afford it. We all feel unsafe and worry that soldiers might raid our home again.