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Testimony: A.M.Y.W.


Name: A.M.Y.W.
Age: 15
Date: 14 November 2020
Location: Beit Fajjar, West Bank
Accusation: Weapon possession

On 14 November 2020, a 15-year-old minor from Beit Fajjar was arrested at an Israeli police station in the West Bank after responding to a phone summons. He reports ill treatment and being denied his basic legal rights under Israeli military law. He reports being released without charge 6 days later. 

About 10 Israeli military vehicles came to the bakery where I was working the night shift. It was around 2:30 a.m. The soldiers told the owner of the bakery that they were looking for someone who had a similar name to me. The soldiers then asked me for my name and then they left. I was terrified and so was the bakery owner and he drove me home.
After the soldiers left the bakery they went to my house and searched it causing a lot of damage to the furniture. They told my parents they were looking for the same person they told the bakery owner. When they did not find anyone with that name they arrested my older brother. When I arrived home the soldiers had already left with my brother. My mother was in a very bad shape, shaking and crying and the house was a total mess.
Later that day the area commander phoned my father at around noon and told him to bring me to the police station.  He said if I was brought to the police station they would release my brother. I went with my father to the police station as requested; we arrived there at around 3:30 p.m. 
We waited a short while at the gate and then a soldier took me inside and told my father to go home. Inside the police station my hands were tied behind my back with one plastic tie which was tight and painful. I was also blindfolded. Then I was left on a chair in an outdoor area for about two hours. 
After about two hours I was taken in a vehicle to the police station in Kiryat Arba settlement. I arrived there in the evening. At around 8:00 p.m. a soldier cut my wrist when he tried to cut off the tie with a blade. The tie was so tight that he could not cut it off without injuring my wrist. Then I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator started to question me without removing the blindfold. As soon as I entered the interrogation room he yelled at me and asked me to tell him where I had hidden the weapons. When I told him I had no weapons he hit me on my shoulder. When I asked him to give me evidence for his allegations he told me to shut up because “the evidence is none of your business”. He also threatened to arrest all my family and revoke their work permits. I continued to deny the accusation. He questioned me without informing me of my rights and I did not speak to a lawyer. At the end he showed me documents written in Hebrew and asked me to sign them and I did without understanding what they said.
I was interrogated until around 10:00 p.m. and then I was left outdoors in the rain for about three hours. 
At around 1:00 a.m. I was tied again and taken to Al Mascobiyeh police station, in West Jerusalem, where I was interrogated again. This time the blindfold was removed but not the tie. The interrogator did not inform me of my right to silence but half way through the interrogation he told me I could consult with a lawyer. He then phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me not to confess. The conversation lasted for about a minute and the interrogator was listening. 
The interrogator was aggressive and yelled at me all the time. He accused me of possessing weapons and wanted me to confess and to tell him where I had hidden the pieces. I denied the accusation and told him I did not have any weapons. He thumped the table and raised his voice wanting me to confess but I did not.
He questioned me for about two hours, from 1:00 a.m. until around 3:00 a.m. At the end he made me sign documents written in Hebrew which I did not understand. Then I was left in a corridor for about two hours before being taken to a cell where I was strip searched. 
Later that morning I had a military court hearing on video. My lawyer was there and the hearing was adjourned. After the hearing I was taken back to the cell which was small and did not have any windows. I could not tell day from night and I barely had space to sleep. There were no blankets for me and the three other detainees who were with me. The air conditioner was turned on cold all the time making it freezing cold. The food was not good; they brought us jam and yogurt.
On 19 November 2020, I was told I was going to be interrogated again before the next court hearing the following day but instead I was released without charge that day. I was very happy. A military jeep dropped me off at a checkpoint near Hebron. I took a taxi home and my father paid the driver when I arrived. I arrived home at around 7:00 p.m.
This testimony was produced with the financial support of the German Federal Foreign Office. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Military Court Watch.