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Testimony: M.A.A.Z.


Name: M.A.A.Z.
Age: 16
Date: 3 June 2020
Location: Deir Abu Misha'al, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones

On 3 June 2020, a 16-year-old minor from Deir Abu Misha'al was arrested by Israeli soldiers from home at 4:00 a.m. and accused of throwing stones. He reports consulting with a lawyer prior to interrogation but not being informed of his right to silence by the interrogator prior to questioning. He was sentenced to 6 months in prison and fined NIS 3,000. He also received a suspended sentence. 

I was arrested from home at around 4:00 a.m. Eight Israeli soldiers came into my bedroom and woke me up. One of them asked me for my name and then told me to get dressed because I was under arrest. They did not tell me the reason for my arrest but they gave my father a document filled out in Hebrew.
I was taken outside where my hands were tied to the front 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. Then they walked me towards the road intersection at the entrance to the village where I was blindfolded. Then they took me to a troop carrier where I sat on a seat. 
I was driven to a nearby settlement where I was given a quick medical examination. Then they took me to a room together with three other detainees. I was left there until 6:00 a.m. and then I was taken to another nearby settlement for interrogation.
The interrogator removed the ties and the blindfold. Then he handcuffed me to the front and shackled my feet and connected the handcuffs to the shackles with a chain. Then I told the interrogator I wanted to speak to a lawyer and I gave him the name of a lawyer I knew. He phoned another lawyer and handed me the phone and put it on speaker and told me to speak him. The lawyer told me not to be scared. The conversation lasted a few seconds and the interrogator was listening.
Then, without informing me of my right to silence, he accused me of throwing stones and of holding stun grenades. I denied the accusation. Then he showed me some photographs and pointed to a boy in one of the photos who was holding something in his hand and told me it was me. I told him it was not me. Then he threatened to lock me up in prison for seven years if I did not confess. He raised his voice at me and said the boy in the photo was me.
He questioned me for about an hour and in the end I confessed to holding a stone and a spent stun grenade in my hands. I told the interrogator I was shot at before I threw anything at the soldiers. Then he showed me a document written in Hebrew and Arabic about my right to silence. He asked me to sign it but I refused to sign. 
Then I was taken to Howarra military base where I was searched in my boxer shorts. Then I was taken to a cell where I spent 36 hours. During this time, I had a military court hearing via video link and I did not see any of my family. My detention was extended and the hearing was adjourned. Then I was taken to Megiddo prison, inside Israel, where I was again searched in my boxer shorts. 
Two days later I had another interrogation. The interrogator allowed me to speak to a lawyer and he left the room. Then the interrogator told me I had the right to remain silent. Then he accused me of the same accusation but added that I possessed explosives. He was aggressive and questioned me for about 30 minutes. At the end he showed me a document written in Hebrew and asked me to sign it but I refused to sign. After the interrogation I was taken back to prison.
Later I had a third interrogation. The interrogator allowed me to speak to a lawyer before the interrogation. He also told me I had the right to remain silent. He questioned me about the same accusations. 
In all I had about 20 military court hearings. At the last one, which was on the day of my release, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to six months in prison and fined NIS 3,000. I was also given a suspended sentence but I did not understand the details; the sound on the video link was poor and I was too excited about going home to bother asking. The guard told me to say “I agree, I agree” and I did without understanding anything.
I spent 28 days at Megiddo and then I was transferred to Ofer prison, near Jerusalem. I was released form Ofer on 9 December 2020, and I went home with my brother. We arrived home in the evening. In prison I exercised and I attended classes. My father died three weeks later and I am finding it hard to cope.