|29 January 2021
|Beit Furik checkpoint, West Bank
|Throwing pipe bombs
On 29 January 2021, a 17-year-old minor from Balata refugee camp was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 7:30 p.m. and accused of throwing a pipe bomb. He reports ill treatment and being denied his basic legal rights under Israeli military law. He reports being held in solitary confinement for 8 days. He was sentenced to 1 month in prison and fined NIS 1,500.
I was with some friends at the Beit Furik military checkpoint when somebody threw a pipe bomb at the Israeli military watchtower. It was around 7.30 p.m. Soon soldiers started to chase everybody.
One of the soldiers grabbed me and swore at me calling me a "son of a whore". He beat me with the back of his gun on my leg which hurt. Then he tied my hands to the front with one plastic tie. The tie was very tight and very painful. Then he pulled down my trousers to search me. When I tried to lift my trousers up the plastic tie snapped. When that happened, the soldier tied me with six plastic ties on top of each other. The ties were extremely tight and caused me a lot of pain.
Then the soldier blindfolded me and banged my head against the concrete wall. He kicked and slapped me and the other soldiers were laughing. One of them made animal sounds and another took a video of me which I think he posted on Tick Tock because I heard him say the word. Then he pushed me to the ground and made me kneel down for about two hours. It was raining and I got soaked.
Then a soldier handed me a telephone and told me to speak to "Captain Odai". Without informing me of my rights, Captain Odai wanted to know what I was doing in the area. Then he just swore at me and he was very aggressive.
The soldiers then led me about 20 meters and put me in the back of a military jeep. I sat on a seat. Inside the jeep I was beaten some more. A soldier kicked me hard on my knee and hurt me a lot. The jeep drove me to Huwwara military base.
At Huwwara I was taken to a room where a doctor gave me a quick medical examination. I begged the doctor to remove the ties because I was in pain but he refused and told me someone else would cut them off later. Then he wanted to take my temperature but I refused to allow him to put the thermometer in my mouth. I just did not trust him and was afraid of putting anything in my mouth. Then I was searched in my boxer shorts and taken to a cell. I asked to use the toilet but they refused. They offered me some food but I could not eat it because it looked disgusting.
I was left in the cell until around 10:00 p.m. the following day. Then I was taken to the police station at Petah Tikva, inside Israel, where I was taken to a very small cell measuring about 1 x 1.5 meters. The cell did not have any windows and had a flickering dim light which hurt my eyes. I could not fall asleep because of the flickering light and I could not tell day from night. I was left in the cell in solitary confinement for eight days.
On the second day I sat with a lawyer for 15 minutes. He told me to be brave and asked me if I needed anything and wanted to know which prison I preferred to be at. Then I had a military court hearing via video link. My parents did not attend because they were not informed. The military judge extended my detention and the hearing was adjourned.
On the fourth day I was interrogated. I was handcuffed and blindfolded and taken into the a room. The interrogator removed the blindfold but kept the handcuffs. He told me I had the right to remain silent. He explained and told me it was my choice; I could either tell him everything or I could say nothing. He also told me if I wanted he was willing to call a lawyer for me but he never did. Then he told me my case is a trivial one and urged me to confess and tell him everything quickly because he had no time for trivial cases like mine. He told me he had better issues to spend his time on like Hamas activists and weapons cases.
He then accused me of throwing pipe bombs at the checkpoint. I denied the accusation. He showed me some photographs and repeated the accusation. At first, I denied everything because I wanted the interrogation session to last as long as possible because I did not want to go back to the cell. He questioned me for about two hours and was sometimes calm and other times he was aggressive. He threatened to revoke my father’s work permit and the work permits of my relatives.
Towards the end I confessed. When I confessed he asked me to sign some documents written in Hebrew. I signed them when he assured me the documents contained my testimony exactly as I said it. I also was worried he might beat me up if I refused to sign.
Then I was taken to see another interrogator who was a policeman. He was smoking and drinking alcohol while typing on his computer. He told me to repeat everything I had told the previous interrogator and I did. He did not inform me of my rights and did not allow me to speak to a lawyer. At the end he asked me to sign a document written in both Arabic and Hebrew and I did.
Then I was taken back to the cell which was monitored by CCTV cameras 24 hours. The food was disgusting and I could barely eat it. I felt so terrible that I wanted to kill myself. I broke a plastic fork they had brought with the food and I cut my wrist and made more cuts along the inside of my arm until my elbow. The guards saw what I had done on the camera and they quickly came to the cell. One of them yelled at me and wanted to beat me up. Then they took me to the clinic and a doctor examined my arm and gave me some band aids. Then I was taken to Megiddo prison inside Israel where I was strip searched.
I had eight military court hearings and at the last one, which was on the day I was released, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to one month in prison and fined NIS 1,500. I was also given a suspended sentence of one-and-a-half years.
I was released at Al Jalama checkpoint on 27 February 2021, and I went home with my father, my uncles, and my younger sister. My father told me they did not know I was arrested until the following day and thought I had been killed. I arrived home in the evening.
This testimony was produced with the financial support of the German Federal Foreign Office. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Military Court Watch.