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Testimony: M.A.A.A.


Name: M.A.A.A.
Age: 17
Date: 29 November 2020
Location: Al 'Arrub camp, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones

On 29 November 2020, a 17-year-old minor from Al 'Arrub refugee camp was detained by Israeli soldiers on his way home from school at 10:30 a.m. and accused of throwing stones. He reports ill treatment. He reports consulting with a lawyer prior to interrogation but not being informed of his right to silence by the interrogator. He reports being released 18 days later and fined NIS 3,000.

I was on my way home from school at around 10:30 a.m. There were lots of other children queuing to buy sandwiches. Suddenly three Israeli military jeeps pulled up near the sandwich shop and we scattered in all directions. 
The soldiers stepped out of the jeep and one of them fired a stun grenade in my direction. It hit me on my side and caused me pain; it was very hot. I also lost my hearing for a few minutes and fell to the ground. Two soldiers then approached me and started to swear at me and beat me with the back of their guns.
The soldiers then took me to the back of one of the jeeps and made me sit on the metal floor. I was very uncomfortable and my legs became numb. Inside the jeep a soldier covered my eyes and my mouth and nose with two masks. Then they dropped me off by the gate at the entrance to the refugee camp.  
The commander in charge of the camp took a picture of me on his mobile phone. About 10 minutes later I was put in a troop carrier which took me to the police station in Etzion settlement. Inside the troop carrier a soldier tied my hands to the front with two plastic ties. The ties were tight and painful.
At Etzion I was left outdoors with three other boys until around 4:00 p.m. when I was taken for interrogation. Before I was interrogated some soldiers abused me and threatened to beat me up and smash my head. The interrogator handed me a telephone and told me to speak to a lawyer. The lawyer told me not to confess and not to give any names. Then I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator removed the masks but kept me tied. He did not inform me of my right to silence and accused me of throwing stones at soldiers. I denied the accusation. Then he told me two soldiers had testified against me and I continued to deny the accusation. He questioned me for about 10 minutes and at the end of the interrogation he showed me a document in Hebrew and asked me to sign it but I refused to sign. I told him I was not going to sign anything I did not understand unless he translated it for me. Then I was taken back to the courtyard where I was left until around 3:00 a.m. It was a very cold night and I could not sleep.
At around 3:00 a.m. I was taken in a military vehicle with another boy to a number of detention centres but none of them agreed to admit us. Then we were taken back to Etzion for a short while and then I was taken to the settlement of Kiryat Arba where I was left on the floor of a shipping container. I could not sleep because the soldiers were noisy.   
Then they took me outside and made me sit in the sun. I managed to remove the ties but then a soldier tied me again. The ties were even tighter and caused me a lot of pain and left marks on my wrists for a week. He also blindfolded me.
I complained to one of the soldiers and asked him to take me inside because the sun was hot. He yelled back at me because he did not understand what I was saying. Then another soldier passed by and I spoke to him in English and asked him to take me indoors. He did not agree.
Then, about an hour later, I was taken in a military vehicle to the quarantine section at Megiddo prison, inside Israel where I was searched in my boxer shorts. I spent 14 days there. The following day I had a military court hearing via a video link. My father attended and my detention was extended because my file was not ready. 
I had three more military court hearings and at the last one, which was on the day I was released, my father and my lawyer agreed on a plea bargain without consulting me. The military judge was satisfied with the time I had already spent in prison. In addition, he imposed a fine of NIS 3,000 and told me I had a suspended sentence valid for two years but I did not understand for how long. After spending 14 days at the quarantine section at Megiddo I was taken to the juvenile section where I spent a few days before my release.
I was released on 16 December 2020, at Al Jalama checkpoint and I went home with other detainees from Al Arrub who were released with me. I arrived home at around 11:30 p.m.
Now I want to study hard for my final high school exams; I am aiming for a high average which will hopefully qualify me to travel to Russia to study.