|Date of incident:
|25 August 2013
|Deir Nidham, West Bank
On 25 August 2013, a 16-year-old minor was arrested at his school by Israeli soldiers and accused of throwing stones at a settler bus. He reports ill-treatment and being denied his basic legal rights under Israeli military law. He was released the following day without appearing in court or being charged.
I live in the village of An Nabi Saleh but go to school in the neighbouring village of Deir Nidham. On 25 August, I went to school on the first day of term after the summer holidays. I was sitting in class listening to the teacher when I heard the sound of tear gas being fired. I saw a canister hit the wall of a nearby house. We were all distracted and looked out the window to see what was happening.
Soon someone rushed into our classroom and said Israeli soldiers were in the area. A few minutes later the soldiers entered the school. They first went into the Grade 7 classroom, but soon realised the children were too young and so then came to my classroom. When they entered my classroom a soldier pointed at one of my classmates wearing a red T-shirt and told him to come with them. Another soldier spoke to me and another classmate, and told us to come with him. We were the only boys in the classroom, the rest were girls.
The teacher told us not to go, so we remained seated and didn’t move. A soldier then grabbed the chair I was sitting on, threw it on the floor and nearly hurt one of the other students. He grabbed me and dragged me out of the classroom. Another soldier did the same to my classmate.
Once outside the classroom, a soldier tied my hands in front with one plastic tie. The tie was not too tight. I was then escorted out of school whilst they fired tear gas and stun grenades at the building. They put me in a military vehicle and took me to a nearby military base. On arrival we were put in a small room. No one told us why we had been detained. A short time later a soldier walked into the room, talked to another soldier and then grabbed me and took me outside without explaining anything. I stood out in the sun for three hours, maybe more. A soldier then came and blindfolded me and told me I was suspected of throwing stones at a settlers’ bus early that morning.
Towards the end of the three hours I was asked for my name. I was then taken in a jeep, together with the other two boys, to another military base where I was given a medical examination. The doctor asked me some questions about my health. She asked me to sign a paper written in Arabic saying I was not denied medical attention. I signed the paper. Then I was taken to Binyamin settlement for interrogation.
We arrived at Binyamin at around 8:00 p.m. I wasn’t given anything to eat or drink all day. The interrogator removed my blindfold but kept my hands tied. He did not tell me anything about any rights. He said to me: 'You were throwing stones this morning before going to school.’ I told him I didn’t throw any stones. He then told me to at least apologize and to say I wouldn’t do it again. I told him I didn’t do anything wrong and therefore I wasn’t going to apologize for something I didn’t do. He got angry and asked me for my name and my father’s name and asked whether I wanted to speak to my father. I said yes and he asked for my father’s telephone number and called him. I heard him tell my father to appoint a lawyer for me. He also told him where I was being held. The interrogator then asked a soldier to take me outside and I was re-blindfolded.
A short while later the interrogator called me again and told me that my classmates had confessed and so should I. I told him this was not true and that he as telling me this to put pressure on me to confess. I was then photographed and fingerprinted. The interrogator gave me a document written in Hebrew and asked me to sign it. I told him I wasn’t going to sign something written in a language I didn’t understand. He got very upset and told me the document related to my fingerprints. He then threatened to bring another soldier in to beat me. I was scared and so signed the document. As far as I could tell the interrogation was not recorded.
At around 2:00 a.m. I was taken with my two classmates to Ofer prison, near Jerusalem. On arrival at the prison I was searched and given some prison clothes that were too big for me. I was then taken to a cell with other children and somebody gave me a sandwich. I slept for about two hours before the prison guard woke us up to be counted. I then had breakfast and went out with the other prisoners to an open exercise area. Shortly afterwards someone called our names and said we were going to be released.
We waited with about 10 other prisoners for about half-an-hour. My parents were not told I was going to be released so they were not there to take me home. My classmates and I took a taxi back to our village. We arrived home at around 9:00 p.m. It was Monday, 26 August. My family was very happy to see me back.