|19 January 2020
|Beit Fajjar, West Bank
|Throwing Stones / Molotov cocktail
On 19 January 2020, a 14-year-old minor from Beit Fajjar was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 7:00 p.m. and accused of throwing Molotov cocktails. He reports ill treatment and being denied his basic legal rights under Israeli military law. He reports being sentenced to 12 days in prison and fined NIS 3,000. He also received a suspended sentence.
I was walking with two friends along the road at the entrance to our village. It was around 7:00 p.m. Suddenly an Israeli military jeep approached us. The jeep stopped and the soldiers stepped out, yelled at us and ordered us to sit on the ground. One of the soldiers aimed his gun at me and told me to raise my hands up. Two more military jeeps arrived at the scene and the commander took a video of me. Then he asked me whether I had any weapons.
A short time later a soldier blindfolded me and 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 I lost sensation in my palms. I asked the soldier to loosen the ties but he refused. Then they brought police dogs near me and I could hear their breath. They brought them very close but they did not touch me. I could not see the dogs but I could hear them barking and I think there may have been two or three of them.
Then I was taken to a jeep where I sat on the metal floor. Once inside the jeep the soldiers made fun of me. When my telephone rang one of the soldiers swore at me. Then he kicked me on the leg. I was taken to an area I did not recognise where I was left in the rain for about two hours. I was cold and scared and could not sleep at all. I was searched in my underwear and then I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator was in civilian clothes. He removed the blindfold but kept my ties on. I told him I was in pain and only later did he remove the ties. He asked me whether I wanted to speak to a lawyer and then he rang my father but my father did not answer. I did not speak to a lawyer and the interrogator did not inform me of my right to silence.
Then he asked me about weapons. I told him I did not have any weapons. Then he wanted to know who was with me when I was arrested. Then he told me about an incident where a Molotov cocktail was thrown. It turned out the person who was involved in that incident had the same name to mine. I explained to the interrogator it was not me but someone else with the same name. The interrogator was calm but then another interrogator walked in and he was very tense and angry. The two of them questioned me about weapons possession and I denied the accusation.
Then the first interrogator accused me of throwing stones and a Molotov cocktail. He told me he had evidence against me but did not explain. The two interrogators kept repeating the same accusation and in the end I confessed. I felt it was the only way out for me. The interrogation lasted for about 30 minutes and at the end I was shown documents in Hebrew and I was asked to sign them. The interrogator verbally translated the documents into Arabic and I signed them.
Then I was taken to another room where another interrogator had me repeat what I had said and recorded it. This interrogator did not inform me of my rights but he recorded the session on a voice recorder. This lasted for another 30 minutes. I was not asked to sign anymore documents. Then I was taken to Ofer prison, near Jerusalem, where I was strip searched before being taken to Section 13.
The following day I was taken to Ofer military court. My parents were not informed and they did not attend the hearing. A lawyer was there and the hearing was adjourned. I was taken back to Ofer prison. A few days later, and after a second hearing I was taken for another interrogation. My lawyer told me to say I confessed under duress.
This interrogator did not inform me of my rights and did not call a lawyer for me. He questioned me through an interpreter about throwing stones and a Molotov cocktail. I denied the accusation and told the interrogator I had confessed under duress. The interrogation lasted for about 20 minutes and I was taken back to Ofer without having to sign any documents.
At the last hearing in the military courts, which was on the 31 January 2020, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to 12 days in prison, a fine of NIS 3,000 and a suspended sentence of three months valid for three years. I accepted the plea bargain because it meant I would go home the same day.
My father went to get the money to pay the fine. I was released in the evening and I arrived home with my father at around 1:00 a.m. It was a tough experience and I hope I will never go through it again. I want to focus on my school work.
This testimony was produced with the financial support of the German Federal Foreign Office. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Military Court Watch.