|21 September 2020
|Kiryat Arba, West Bank
On 21 September 2020, a 17-year-old minor from Hebron was arrested after responding to a phone summons and accused of throwing stones. He reports ill treatment and being denied his basic legal rights under Israeli military law. He reports spending 10 days in solitary confinement. He was sentenced to 3.5 months in prison and fined NIS 3,000.
The day before I was arrested the Israeli military commander in charge of my town phoned my father in the afternoon and asked him to bring me to the police station in Kiryat Arba police station the following morning.
The following morning I went to the police station with my father as ordered. We arrived at around 9:00 a.m. The guard told my father to go home and I was taken inside the police station where they shackled me and handcuffed me to the front with metal handcuffs. They tightened them hard and I was in pain. I was then put inside a cage in an open area and left there from around 9:00 a.m. until around 3:00 p.m. During this time I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator did not remove the shackles and the handcuffs. He showed me some photographs of clashes with soldiers and pointed to a masked boy in one of the photos and told me it was me. I denied the accusation. Then he told me my cousin was with me and the two of us threw stones at soldiers. He told me my cousin had already testified against me. Still, I denied the accusation.
The interrogator was aggressive and threatened to revoke my father’s work permit if I did not confess. I was very worried because this was my father’s first work permit in 25 years and the whole family depended on his income. He also raised his voice at me and told me he would send me home if I confessed.
About half way through the interrogation the interrogator phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me not to confess and that my file was clean. He also told me he was representing my cousin too. I spoke to the lawyer for about a minute while the interrogator was listening. He questioned me without informing me of my right to silence. At the end of the interrogation he wanted me to sign documents written in Hebrew. When I refused to sign he slapped me on my head.
After the interrogation I was blindfolded and taken into the back of a jeep where I sat on a seat. The jeep took me to the police station in Etzion settlement I was not taken inside and the jeep continued to Huwarra military base near Nablus.
At Huwarra I was searched in my boxer shorts before being taken to a cell where I was left by myself for 10 days. The room measured about 2 x 2 meters and had two small windows: one overlooking the courtyard which they kept shut so I couldn't see the soldiers and the other opened onto an office. The daylight coming into the room was very dim and there were no electric lights. They brought me left over food which was unappetizing and sometimes I could not eat it. They gave me a chocolate drink for breakfast and dinner which was not enough. I was very lonely and did not sleep well.
During my time at Huwarra I had a military court hearing via video link and my detention was extended.
Ten days later I was taken to Megiddo prison, inside Israel, where I was searched in my clothes before being taken to the quarantine section. I spent 14 days in quarantine before being taken to section 3 for minors.
During my time in prison I had three military court hearings by video link which my father attended. At the last hearing, which was on 15 October 2020, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to three-and-a-half months in prison and fined NIS 3,000. I was also given another three years in prison suspended for five years. I accepted the plea bargain because the prosecutor wanted to sentence me to eight months in prison.
I spent four days in section 3 at Megiddo prison and then I was transferred to Damoun prison, also in Israel. I was released at Al Jalama checkpoint on 27 December 2020, and I went home with my family. I arrived home at around 9:00 p.m.