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Testimony: M.M.A.Z.


Name: M.M.A.Z.
Age: 16
Date: 30 April 2021
Location: Jerusalem
Accusation: Throwing stones

On 30 April 2021, a 16-year-old from Qalqiliya was arresteds at Damascus Gate at 11:00 p.m. He reports ill treatment. He reports consulting with a lawyer but not being informed of his right to silence by the interrogator before each interrogaiton. He reports being held in solitary confinement for 7 days. He was sentenced to 2 months in prison and fined NIS 4,000.

I went to Jerusalem to pray in the mosque and there were clashes with Israeli soldiers on that day. After the clashes I sat on the steps of Damascus gate before I headed home. It was around 11:00 p.m. Then I saw a group of about seven men in civilian clothes running towards me. I did not realize they were Israeli special forces in civilian clothes until one of them grabbed me and pointed his gun at me. 
The man who grabbed me swore at me calling my mother and sisters "whores". Then the other men joined in beating me, one of them hit me hard with his gun on my knee cap and caused me a lot of pain, another hit me with his gun on the back of my neck. I bled and I was in severe pain and I passed out and fell to the ground. When I woke up I found myself shackled and painfully handcuffed to the front with metal handcuffs. I was in the interrogation room at Salah Al Din police station. 
The interrogator spoke to me through an interpreter. He said something about the right to remain silent but I did not understand what he meant. Then he phoned a public defender and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me to calm down and not be afraid. He also told me not to confess and not to sign any documents. The interrogator was listening to the conversation which lasted for about five minutes. 
Then the interrogator welcomed me, asked me how I was and then wanted to know whether I knew why I was in his office. I told him I had no idea. Then he accused me of throwing stones. I denied the accusation. Then he showed me video footage of clashes with soldiers and accused me of taking part. When I denied it, he thumped the table aggressively and swore at me.
Then he told me there were three items in my charge sheet: throwing stones at soldiers; assaulting a soldier and; entering Jerusalem without a permit. I denied all three. He thumped the table again and mumbled something to himself. He questioned me for about four hours, from around 11:30 p.m. until around 3:30 a.m. Then he wanted me to sign a document written in Hebrew but I refused. 
After the interrogation I was taken to Al Mascobiyeh police station, in West Jerusalem, where I was strip searched before being taken to a small cell. I spent seven days in that cell in solitary confinement. The cell measured around 3 x 3 meters and had a toilet and a small window which opened onto another room. I did not know day from night and was very distressed the whole time. I tried to tell myself to be patient because this situation could not last forever but I did not succeed. 
The following day I had a military court hearing via zoom. My father attended and my detention was extended for further interrogation. On the fifth day I had another interrogation. The interrogator allowed me to speak to a lawyer before he started to question me. The lawyer said the same things and warned me not to make any mistakes and to stick to my position. The conversation lasted for about 10 minutes and the interrogator was not in the room. 
Then, without informing me of my right to silence, the interrogator accused me of the same accusations. I denied them. Then he told me he had new video footage of me throwing stones at soldiers. Then he showed me the same footage I was shown in the first interrogation. I denied the accusation. Then he yelled at me for denying the accusation. Then he threatened to arrest my father and mother and to revoke my father’s work permit so that he loses his job in Israel. He questioned me for about one-and-a-half hours and then he got bored and asked me to sign a document written in Hebrew but I refused to sign. Then I was taken back to the cell.
The following day I was taken for a third interrogation. I spoke to a lawyer before the interrogation but the interrogator did not inform me of my right to remain silent. Then I pretended to be totally confused and asked the interrogator who he was and what I was doing in his office. When he asked me questions I responded by asking him who he was and pretended not to know what was going on. After about 10 minutes of trying to make sense, the interrogator was fed up with me and called someone to take me out. He did not ask me to sign any documents and I was taken back to the cell.
After spending seven days in the cell by myself I was taken to another cell with other detainees where I spent another 17 days. The situation was much better there and I felt a sense of relief. Then I was taken to Ofer where I was strip searched before being taken to section 13. 
I had six military court hearings and at the last one, which was one day before I was released, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to two months in prison and fined NIS 4,000. I also received a suspended sentence of six months suspended for one year. I accepted the plea bargain because I was desperate to go home.
I did not have any family visits because of the Corina virus regulations but I spoke to my parents twice a month from a phone provided by the prison authorities. 
I was released at Ofer on 29 June 2021 and I went home with my father. I arrived home in the evening. I don’t have much to do these days because I don’t go to school. I sometimes sit on the side of the road and sell guavas to make some pocket money. I am considering going to a vocational school to train go become a plumber. 
This testimony was produced with the financial support of the German Federal Foreign Office. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Military Court Watch.