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Home » Children »

Testimony: M.A.I.H.


Name: M.A.I.H.
Age: 14
Date: 5 September 2021
Location: Al Jalazun camp, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing Moltov cocktails

On 5 September 2021, a 14-year-old minor from Al Jalazun refugee camp was arrested by Israeli soldiers near Bet El settlement at 5:00 p.m. and accused of throwing Molotov cocktails. He reports ill treatment and being denied his basic legal rights under Israeli military law. He was sentenced to 7 months in prison and fined NIS 2,000. He also received a suspended sentence. 

I was near an incident in which a Molotov cocktail was thrown at the settlement of Bet El at around 5:00 p.m. I ran away when Israeli soldiers started to chase all the boys in the area. I ran into a building next to a supermarket. When I looked out the window I saw about 10 soldiers entering the building. I quickly ran outside and the soldiers started firing stun grenades and rubber bullets in my direction. I managed to get away and made it safely home.  
Soon after I arrived home the local Israeli military commander phoned my father and told him he had to hand me over. My father told the commander if he wanted to arrest me he should come and get me himself and then hung up. The commander phoned back but my father turned his phone off. 
Then the commander phoned my uncle and told him he was going to shoot me dead if I did not turn myself in. Then he phoned the mother of one of the boys they had arrested and told her if she handed me over he would release her son. Then, he phoned my grandfather. The commander told my grandfather he was going to come to our house, shoot me dead and leave. My grandfather was terrified. At first, he told the commander he was not going to turn me in but then he changed his mind because he felt the threats were real.
My grandfather told me to go and have a shower and change. Then my parents gave me some advice and told me what to say and then my grandfather and uncle took me to the settlement gate. We were there at 2:00 a.m. A soldier at the gate aimed his gun at us and when my uncle tried to enter with me the soldier pushed him and my grandfather back.
Then the soldier wanted to tie my hands behind my back but I refused. He then tied my hands to the front with three plastic ties on top of each other. The ties were tights and painful. I was tied for three days and the ties left marks on my wrists. Blood flow was severely restricted and my hands swelled and turned blue. 
The minute my uncle and grandfather were out of sight the soldiers kicked and slapped me. They also swore at me. When I swore back at them a soldier slapped me hard and hit me on the head. Then a soldier shackled me and wanted to blindfold me but he did not know how. He then pulled a bag over my head. The bag smelled of tear gas.
Then they took me to the back of a military jeep where I sat on the metal floor. I was taken to the police station in Binyamin settlement.  I arrived there at around 4:00 a.m. I was taken to a room where I found the other boys on the floor; tied and blindfolded. The soldiers wanted the boys to see me so they woke them up and then took me outside where they kicked and slapped me. I then waited in a corridor until around 5:00 a.m.
At around 5:00 a.m. I was taken to see "Captain Shaher". He did not inform me of my rights. He threatened me and accused me of being a terrorist. He wanted to know why I threw a Molotov cocktail at the settlement. Then he told me he had taken a decision to kill me and swore at god had I not turned myself in he would have. Then he offered me some coke and then took me outside. Then I was taken for interrogation.
The interpreter who was in the interrogation room removed the ties. I did not speak to a lawyer. The interrogator was in civilian clothes and had a camera in the room. He did not inform me of my right to silence. He asked me how I was and I told him I was not good at all. Then he told me I was a terrorist and accused me of throwing a Molotov cocktail at the settlement. I denied the accusation and challenged him to present evidence. 
The interrogator showed me some video footage of the incident and I denied I took part. Then he yelled at me and the soldier in the corner of the room cocked his gun and aimed it at me. Then the interrogator told me to confess otherwise he was going to give orders to shoot me. I was terrified and I confessed to throwing a Molotov cocktail. 
I was questioned for about two hours. In the end the interrogator told me to sign documents in Hebrew and I refused to sign except in the presence of a lawyer. Then he phoned a lawyer for me and the lawyer told me it was ok to sign but I refused to sign. 
Then I was taken to the back of a jeep which drove around for many hours. Then I was taken to Ofer prison, near Jerusalem, where I was strip searched before being taken to the quarantine section where I spent 14 days. About a week later I was taken for another interrogation at Binyamin police station.
The interrogator was different. He did not allow me to speak to a lawyer and did not inform me of my right to silence. He replayed the voice recording where I am heard confessing. I told him I confessed because the interrogator threatened to shoot me. Then he showed me video footage of the incident and I denied I was there. He questioned me for about three hours. During the interrogation he swore at me. He raised his voice and thumped the table. I continued to deny the accusation.
At the end he asked me to sign a document in Hebrew but I refused to sign. After the interrogation I was taken back to Ofer. 
My first military court hearing was a week after my arrest. It was on zoom and my parents attended. I had about nine hearings. On 19 January 2022, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to seven months in prison and fined NIS 2,000. I also received another year in prison suspended for five years. My parents could not afford the fine so I spent two more months in prison instead of the fine.
I spent the rest of my prison sentence at Ofer. My parents visited me three times and I called home from a phone provided by the prison authorities once every two weeks. In prison I cleaned the ward and was in charge of distributing food to the detainees. I also lifted weights.
I was given early release and released at Beit Sira checkpoint on 23 February 2022. My family were told to wait at Ofer. I called them and they came and picked me up.  I arrived home at around 11:30 p.m.