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Testimony: A.R.A.J.


Name: A.R.A.J.
Age: 14
Date: 11 June 2020
Location: Nablus, West Bank
Accusation: Weapon possession

On 11 June 2020, a 14-year-old minor from Nablus was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 3:00 p.m. and accused of possessing a knife. He reports ill treatment and being denied his basic legal rights under Israeli military law. He reports attempted recruitment. He reports being released 4 days later on payment of NIS 2,000. 

I was walking to my friend’s house when an Israeli military jeep drove towards me and stopped. It was around 3:00 p.m. A soldier stepped out and asked me what I was doing. Then he handcuffed me with my hands behind my back with metal handcuffs and tightened them. They were very tight and painful. Then he blindfolded me and took me to the back of a military jeep where I sat on a seat.
Inside the jeep a soldier hit me with the back of his gun and swore at me. The jeep drove to Huwwara military base where I was taken to a shipping container. The soldiers then tuned the air conditioner on very cold and I was freezing. A soldier asked me some questions without informing me of my rights. 
The soldier wanted to know what I was doing in the area and how old I was. Then he told me he was Muslim and was surprised when I did not believe him. He told me he could read the Quran for me and then he asked me if I wanted to collaborate with them. He told me I was a courageous boy. I told him I would never collaborate even if he stuck his gun to my head. Then he asked me if I wanted a cigarette and I told him I did not smoke. Then he asked to see my Facebook page. Then the commander came and told the soldier to leave me alone.
About two hours later I was taken outside where I was left in the sun. I asked for some water but the soldiers did not respond. One of them spat at me and I started to shout. Soldiers heard my shouts and came to see what was going on. One of them slapped me and then made fun of me. 
About six hours later I was examined by a doctor and then I was taken back to the same place. At around 1:30 a.m. I was taken to a room and then at around 6:00 a.m. I was taken to the police station in Ariel settlement for more interrogation. On the way a soldier struck me with his elbow on my chest and caused me a lot of pain.
At Ariel soldiers stopped to buy some food but did not give me any. When the commander left a soldier accused me of planning to throw Molotov cocktails at soldiers. When I told him I did not understand what he was talking about he grabbed me by the neck and pressed hard and pointed his gun at my head. At around 7:00 a.m. I was taken into the interrogation room.
The interrogator was female and she spoke to me through an interpreter. She removed the blindfold but kept me handcuffed. She told me I had the right to remain silent and the right to consult with a lawyer. I did not speak to a lawyer. She wanted to know why I had a pen knife in my pocket and I told her for self-defense. Then she asked me about the spent bullets in my pockets and I told her the soldiers put them in my pockets. The interrogation lasted for about an hour and I denied all accusations. At the end of the interrogation I was shown documents in Hebrew and asked to sign them. I asked for them to be translated and only then did I sign. 
Then I was taken to a cell where I slept on a chair until around noon. Then I was taken back to Huwwara where I was left at the gate in the hot sun for about four hours. Then I was taken to a cell where I was searched in my underwear. I remained in the cell for three days. During this time I had a military court hearing on video.
My lawyer showed the military court medical reports proving I have psychological issues. The judge decided to release me and imposed a fine of NIS 2,000. I was released on 14 June 2020, at around noon. I was dropped off at Huwwara gate and I stopped a taxi which drove me to where my father was waiting for me and then I went home with my father.