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Testimony: J.M.M.Z.


Name: J.M.M.Z.
Age: 16
Date: 15 March 2021
Location: Beit Ummar, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing Molotov cocktails

On 15 March 2021, a 16-year-old minor from Beit Ummar was arrested by Israeli soldiers from home at 2:30 a.m. and accused of throwing Molotov cocktails. He reports consulting with a lawyer prior to interrogation but not being informed of his right to silence by the interrogator. He was released without charge over 20 hours later. 

I was playing on my mobile phone when my friend phoned me and told me Israeli soldiers were in our neighbourhood. It was around 2:30 a.m. I looked out the window and saw a large number of soldiers surrounding our neighbourhood. One group of soldiers was with our neighbour who was leading them to our house. 
When we opened our front door one of the soldiers asked for me by name. When I identified myself, he told me I was under arrest. When I double checked with him to make sure they had not made a mistake, another soldier confirmed they had come for me. I was surprised because I had not done anything wrong. 
Then one of the soldiers tied my hands to the front with one plastic tie and did not tighten it too hard; it was not painful. He also blindfolded me. The soldiers then led me to the military watchtower at the entrance to our village. They made me sit on the side of the road for about 30 minutes and then took me to the back of a military jeep and made me sit on the metal floor. 
On the way soldiers swore at me and called me son of a "whore". They dropped me off by the clinic at the police station in Etzion settlement. At around 3:30 a.m. I was given a quick medical examination. Then at around 7:00 a.m. I was taken for interrogation.
Before asking me any questions the interrogator phoned a lawyer. I spoke to the lawyer for a few seconds and he barely had time to say anything before the line was cut off.  The interrogator was listening in. The interrogator did not inform me of my right to silence. 
Then the interrogator questioned me about throwing a Molotov cocktail and wanted to know where I was on 9 March 2021. I told him I was at my brother’s friend’s wedding. Then he accused me of throwing a Molotov cocktail and threatened me with the suspended sentence I had from a previous arrest. He told me if I confessed he was going to help me. He wanted to scare me in order to confess. I denied the accusation and told him I had nothing to confess to.
Then he took me outside where I waited for about 30 minutes. Then he came over and asked me whether it was true that I was at my brother’s friend’s wedding. I told him I was. Then he took me to see another interrogator who also wanted to know whether indeed I was at the wedding. I confirmed to the second interrogator I was at the wedding.
At the end of the interrogation the interrogator asked me to sign a document written in Hebrew but I refused to sign a document written in a language I did not understand. Then the interrogator told me I could go home. At around 11:00 p.m. I took a taxi home. 
This is what usually happens in the village; whenever an incident happens, the soldiers round up all the boys who have recently been in prison.  
This testimony was produced with the financial support of the German Federal Foreign Office. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Military Court Watch.