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Testimony: M.H.M.M.


Name:  M.H.M.M.
Age:  14
Date:  6 November 2019
Location:  Aida camp, West Bank
Accusation:  Throwing pipe bomb

On 6 November 2019, a 14-year-old minor from Aida refugee camp was arrested by Israeli soldiers from home at 3:00 a.m. and accused of throwing a pipe bomb. He reports ill treatment. He reports being informed of his basic legal rights under Israeli military law. He reports being released on NIS 10,000 bail, nearly 6 weeks after he was arrested. 

I woke up at around 3:00 a.m. to the sound of banging at our front door. I remained in bed. My father opened the door and three Israeli soldiers entered our home and came straight into my bedroom. 
One of the soldiers told me to get up and go to the living room. They sat me down in the living room by myself. Then I heard a soldier tell my father they wanted to take me for questioning and would bring me back soon. He did not say what they wanted to question me about and did not give us any documents.  When my father asked him for the reason he told my father to ask me because I knew exactly what I had done. 
The soldiers remained in the house for about 10 minutes and then took me outside. Once outside they painfully handcuffed me with my hands to the back. I was also blindfolded. The soldiers then led me to the military watchtower by Rachel’s Tomb. On the way a soldier punched me in the head while I was blindfolded which was a shock because I was not expecting it. 
At the watchtower they made me kneel for about 30 minutes in the cold weather and then they took me to the back of a jeep where I sat on a seat. The jeep drove me to a police station somewhere in the Jerusalem area; I think it was in the settlement of Abu Ghneim. There I waited for about five minutes and then I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator removed the blindfold and moved the handcuffs to the front. Then he handed me a telephone and told me to speak to the lawyer. The lawyer told me not to confess and anything I did not do. The conversation lasted for less than a minute and the interrogator left the room during that time. 
When the interrogator returned he told me I had the right to remain silent but warned me it might be taken against me in court. He had a voice recorder and he switched it on. He told me his name was Luai and he spoke good Arabic.
The interrogator told me I had caused a problem but did not specify exactly what. I denied I had done anything wrong. Then he told me I must have done something because it is inconceivable that I would be brought to his office for nothing and insisted I had to tell him what it was. I told him I had nothing to say. Then he told me other boys had confessed against me but did not tell me what exactly they had confessed. He questioned me for about an hour and banged the table each time I refused to confess. 
At the end of the interrogation he showed me a document in Hebrew and asked me to sign it and I did because it did not occur to me I should not have signed it. Then he took me outside and told me he was going to send me to Ofer prison but this turned out not to be true. 
Another interrogator came and took me to a back room and told me if I confessed he was going to send me home. Then he threatened if I did not confess he was going to lock me up in a cell by myself. There was no camera or voice recorder in the room and I was scared of his threats which I believed. I decided to confess to throwing a pipe bomb at Rachel’s Tomb. 
After I confessed I was taken back to the interrogation room and allowed me to speak to a lawyer again who said the same things and then the interrogator told me I had the right to remain silent. He had a voice recorder in the room and he turned it on. Then he showed me a document in Hebrew and asked me to sign it and I did. 
After the second interrogation I was left in an open-air area until around 10:00 p.m. and then I was taken to Ofer prison, near Jerusalem. At Ofer I was strip searched and a soldier told me to crouch up and down while naked and then I was taken to section 13.
The following day I had a military court hearing. My parents were not informed and did not attend. I was denied bail and the hearing was adjourned. 
In all I had about 11 military court hearings. At the last hearing the military judge decided to release me on bail because my lawyer could prove I had confessed after being threatened. The judge made my father pay bail of NIS 10,000 and told me I was under house arrest and not allowed to leave home except to go to school accompanied by my father. He also told me my next hearing was scheduled on the 13 January 2020. 
On the same day an Israeli social worker spoke to me and then spoke to my parents who were waiting outside court. My mother did not like the social worker or the interpreter who was with her and thought the high bail amount and the house arrest punishment were because of them. 
My father and brother visited me in prison once and I was released on 19 December 2019. I arrived home with my father at around midnight. It was a tough experience; prison is a horrible place and I am not sure what will happen to me next.