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Testimony: A.B.F.


Name: A.B.F.
Age: 16
Date of incident: 7 April 2015
Location: Al 'Arrub, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones
On 7 April 2015, a 16-year-old minor from Al 'Arrub refugee camp was arrested by Israeli soldiers from home at 1.30 a.m. He reports ill treatment and being denied his basic legal rights under Israeli military law. He reports being released on NIS 4,000 bail 8 days after his arrest. 
I was arrested from home at around 1.30 a.m. I was asleep when my father walked into my room with a group of Israeli soldiers and called my name. I was terrified. The soldiers told me I was under arrest and told me to follow them out of our house. They wanted to take me out without allowing me to get dressed but my father and my brothers didn’t allow them. The soldiers shouted at my brother and wanted to hit him. In the end they allowed me to get dressed.
As soon as we were out of the house the soldiers tied my hands to the back with three plastic ties: one on each wrist and another one connecting the two. The ties were painful. When I complained to the commander he shouted at me and told me to shut up. I was also blindfolded. The soldiers slapped me on my face and the back of my neck and walked me towards the military watchtower on the main road.
When we arrived at the watchtower I was put in the back of a jeep and made to sit on the floor between the soldiers’ legs. The soldiers were listening to Hebrew songs and laughing. Each time there was a new song they made fun of me and kicked me.
The jeep drove for about 15 minutes and stopped at the police station in Etzion settlement. I was immediately taken to see a doctor. The doctor examined me and gave me a form to fill out. I was then taken back to the jeep like before. The jeep drove for about 30 minutes and then stopped at a military camp inside the settlement of Karmi Zur. I was taken out of the jeep into an open area where I remained from about 3.00 a.m. until about 8.00 a.m. The soldiers gave me some water and allowed me to use the bathroom. At around 8.00 a.m. I was taken to an interrogation room.
The interrogator wore civilian clothes. I was in the room with him by myself. He then asked me whether I wanted him to communicate with me in the language that Arabs understand; the language of sticks, or whether I wanted him to communicate with me in words. He then told me if I didn’t confess he was going to bring in people with big muscles to teach me how to speak. He did not inform me of any rights. 
He accused me of throwing stones at settlers on Route 60. I denied the accusation and told him I go straight home from school. I also told him I help my father during my free time. He told me I was a liar and that when he asked his men in the camp about me they told him I was involved in throwing stones at soldiers. Then he showed me a photograph of a masked young man and told me it was a picture of me. I told him this was not a picture of me.
He then told me there were confessions against me from other boys who told him I throw stones with them. I asked him to confront me with those boys but he never did. He showed me documents and claimed they were the confessions he took from the other boys. I continued to deny the accusation. The interrogator then wrote down my statement and took me to see an Israeli policeman. He gave the policeman my statement in order for the policeman to type it up.
The policeman showed me a document which said I had the right to remain silent and the right to consult with a lawyer. He asked me to sign this document as proof that I had read it and understood it. He then turned on a tape recorder and started to interrogate me.
He told me I had to confess. I told him I had nothing to confess to and that my statement was already in his hands. He accused me of throwing stones at settlers and soldiers. He then typed up my statement on the computer and then printed it out in both Arabic and Hebrew. He asked me to sign it but I refused.
I was then photographed and fingerprinted and taken to a cell in the settlement of Etzion. It was around 2.00 p.m. Only then did the soldiers remove the handties. I remained in the room until around 6.00 p.m. when soldiers shackled me and handcuffed me to the front and took me into a troop carrier where I sat in the back on a seat. The carrier drove for about an hour before it arrived at Ofer prison, near Jerusalem.
At Ofer I was strip searched. They asked me to crouch up and down while naked. Then they gave me prison clothes and took me to Section 13.
The following day I had a military court hearing. My parents were not in court but a lawyer was there to represent me. The hearing was adjourned for a week.
A day before the next hearing I was released on bail. My parents had to pay NIS 4,000pending the next military court hearing which was scheduled for 12 December 2015. I was released at 6.00 p.m. on 14 April 2015 and I went home with my uncle.