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Home » Children »

Testimony: I.A.M.O.

 

Name: I.A.M.O.
Age: 16
Date: 17 April 2022
Location: Bethlehem, West Bank
Accusation: Administrative Detention

On 17 April 2022, a 16-year-old minor from Bethlehem was arrested after responding to a telephone summons and accused of planning an attack. He reports ill treatment and being denied his basic legal rights under Israeli military law. He reports being held in solitary confinement for 9 days. He received two Administrative Detention orders totaling 6 months.  

I was arrested by the Palestinian Authority and accused of planning a terrorist act. They phoned my father at around 10:00 p.m. and told him to bring me to their office immediately. I went with my father as requested. We were both held there until around 5:00 a.m., asked some questions and then we were sent home.
 
Three days later, at around 4:00 p.m., the Israeli intelligence officer responsible for our area phoned my mother and told her he wanted to speak to me. He did not introduce himself and my mother handed me the telephone not knowing who it was. He asked me if I knew who was talking. When I told him I did not he told me it was the intelligence officer of the area, "Abu Jamil". 
 
Then he summoned me to the checkpoint known as "checkpoint 300", near Rachel’s Tomb. He wanted me to be there at 9:00 a.m. When I told him I did not have the time he was upset and told me he needed me for a quick chat of about 30 minutes and then he would send me home. I told him I did not have time and if he needed me he should come and arrest me. Then I hung up on him.
 
A minute later the intelligence officer called my father and told him what had happened. He also told him he did not want to arrest me from home. When my father told him I insisted on not showing up at his office, he told my father he needed to have a chat with him instead. As my father was getting ready, my mother encouraged me to go with my father and I agreed. I prepared myself knowing I was not going to be released. 
 
At around 9:00 a.m. my father and I went to the checkpoint. We told the soldiers there we had an appointment with the intelligence officer. They took our identity cards and went to check. When they came back they told us there was no appointment as far as they could tell and told us to go home.
 
On our way back, the intelligence officer called my father. My father told him we were told to leave. He told us to go back, this time he was going to wait for us outside. 
 
As soon as we arrived back at the checkpoint, my father and I were taken inside. We were both strip-searched. Then they took my identity card and my cigarettes and told me to wait. They took my father inside for about two minutes and then called me in. The intelligence officer started to question me while my father was there.
 
The intelligence officer asked about my life plans. I told him I wanted to buy a car, build a house and get married. Then he told me he had evidence I had different plans. When I asked him to explain he told me he had information I was planning to buy weapons in order to kill someone. I told him this was not true. Then he changed his tone. He threatened to destroy my family’s future and to demolish our house. 
 
Later the intelligence officer wanted to know the last time I was in Jerusalem. I told him in February 2022. He asked whether I had a permit to enter Jerusalem. I told him I entered without a permit and was caught and detained for three days and fined NIS 3,000.  Then he showed my father the location of our house on his computer screen. I was questioned without consulting with a lawyer and without being informed of my right to silence. 
 
Then, at around 4:00 p.m., my father was taken to a room next door. I overheard him tell my father he could go home and that he was going to arrest me. Then the interrogator came back and asked me for my full name and told me I was under arrest. When I asked him for the reason he told me I would find out during interrogation. Then a guard tied my hands behind my back with three plastic ties: one on each wrist and another connecting the two. The ties were very tight and painful and left marks on my wrists for three days. After I was tied I was also blindfolded. 
 
I was then taken to the back of a military jeep where I sat on a seat. A soldier, sarcastically, told the other soldiers to take care of me. Then, as soon as he left the soldiers inside the military jeep started to beat and kick me. One of the soldiers punched me hard on my eye and it swelled. 
 
I was taken to Etzion police station where soldiers pushed me to the ground as soon as I was taken out of the military jeep. I was bleeding from my nose and my left eye started to be blurry. Then I was taken to a big room where I was left my myself in solitary confinement for nine days. 
 
On my third day at Etzion, at around 10:00 a.m., I was strip searched before being handcuffed and shackled and taken for interrogation. The interrogator was wearing a T-shirt and jeans. He did not remove the handcuffs and shackles. He did not call a lawyer for me or inform me of my right to silence. 
 
The interrogator asked me about my Facebook postings and asked me for my page name. He looked at the page and did not find anything wrong. Then he told me I had posted the picture of a person who was killed by Israeli soldiers and 24 hours later I had removed the post. He told me he considered this to be an act of incitement. He also accused me of being a gang leader, plotting to implement terrorist acts. I denied the accusations.
 
The interrogator was calm and questioned me for about 30 minutes. He repeated the same accusation many times and wanted me to confess, but I did not confess. He asked me to sign a document in Arabic and then I was taken back to the cell. 
 
During the nine days in solitary confinement I complained to the guards about the bad food. I also wanted to be taken out of solitary confinement to be with the other detainees but they refused. I felt humiliated and my spirts were crushed. I found it hard to be by myself while I heard the other detainees in the nearby cells chatting and laughing. I found it hard to sleep and did not know day from night. I was not allowed to shower during the nine days. 
 
During this time, I had a military court hearing via zoom on one of the guard’s telephones. I did not see any lawyers in the court room because they were boycotting the court in protest of administrative detention. 
 
On the ninth day I was taken to Ofer military court, near Jerusalem. I waited in the waiting room and then I was told there was a secret file presented by the prosecutor against me. I was not taken into court and did not see my mother who had come to attend my hearing.  Then I was taken to section 13 in Ofer prison where I was strip searched. 
 
At my third military court hearing I was served with an administrative detention order for three months based on the secret file against me. I was devastated. On 16 July 2022, I was supposed to be released after spending three months in administrative detention, but as I was leaving I was handed another administrative detention order for another three months. I was devastated as I was looking forward to going home. The other detainees calmed me down and comforted me. 
 
During this time, I did not have any court hearings. My parents visited me twice and I was allowed to call home for a telephone provided by the prison authorities twice a month. I spent two months at Ofer and then I was transferred to Megiddo prison, inside Israel. 
 
I was released on 16 October 2022, at Salem checkpoint. My parents were not informed and they were not there to take me home. I took a taxi home and my father paid the driver. I arrived home at around 4:00 p.m. My relatives came to our house to welcome me home and all my relatives started to cook a big meal for everyone. They put the meal together in no time.
 
In prison I played table tennis, showered a lot and attended classes in Arabic, Hebrew and Mathematics. I also tried to exercise to keep fit. I dropped out of school a while ago and I work in construction to earn some money.