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Testimony: F.F.M.I.


Name: F.F.M.I.
Age: 16
Date: 20 January 2022
Location: Beit Fajjar, West Bank
Accusation: Weapon offence

On 20 January 2022, a 16-year-old from Beit Fajjar was arrested from home 2:30 p.m. 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 held in solitary confinement for 12 days. He was sentenced to 8 months in prison and fined NIS 2,000.

Israeli soldiers raided our home at around 2:30 in the afternoon. I was at the barber’s shop having a haircut at the time. They searched our house for weapons but did not find anything. They smashed our furniture, dumped our clothes on the floor, broke doors and turned our home into a mess. They did not leave anything unturned. Then they told my family they wanted to arrest me. The commander phoned me and told me he was going to arrest my father if I did not turn myself in. I left the barber’s shop and went home immediately.
As soon as I arrived home a soldier cuffed my hands behind my back with metal handcuffs and tightened them hard. I was in severe pain and could not tolerate it. He also blindfolded me before taking me to the back of a jeep and made me sit on the metal floor. Inside the jeep soldiers kicked me in my back. The jeep took me to the police station in Etzion settlement. I arrived there at around 4:00 p.m. and was immediately taken for interrogation.
A soldier removed the blindfold but kept the handcuffs on. The interrogator was wearing a T-shirt and jeans. Before questioning me he phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me to remain silent and not to confess. The interrogator was listening to the conversation and told me not to take the lawyer’s advice because if I did I was going to end up in a small cell in solitary confinement and won’t ever see the sun again. 
Then, without informing me of my right to silence, the interrogator told me to confess to what I had done. When I denied I had done anything wrong he told me if I did not confess he was going to charge me with more than one serious offence. He was sometimes calm and sometimes aggressive. He accused me of manufacturing weapons and told me I had to confess. Then he showed me video footage of an incident where a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a vehicle. He urged me to confess but I did not. He also wanted me to confess against other boys. 
The interrogator questioned me for about three hours. At the end of the interrogation he wanted me to sign on his computer screen on a text written in Hebrew. I refused to sign. 
After the interrogation I was taken to a small cell where I spent 12 days in solitary confinement. The cell was medium sized and had a window which let in daylight. I was depressed being alone and spent most of my time sleeping. 
On the fourth day I had a military court hearing on zoom. My family did not attend and my detention was extended for more questioning. On the fifth day I was taken for another interrogation. The interrogator called the same lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me the interrogator wanted to double check a few things and was going to ask me a few questions. The interrogator was listening to the conversation which lasted about a minute. Then without informing me of my right to silence the interrogator wanted me to repeat what I had told the first interrogator. He had a camera and a voice recorder and was calm the whole time. He questioned me for about an hour and did not ask me to sign any documents. Then I was taken back to the cell. 
After spending 12 days in solitary confinement I was taken to Ofer prison. I was strip searched before being taken to the minors’ section. I spent two months at Ofer and then I was transferred to Megiddo prison, inside Israel. I spent the rest of my prison sentence at Megiddo.
I had about 10 military court hearings. At the last one I was sentenced in a plea bargain to eight months in prison and fined NIS 2,000. I was also given another 10 months in prison suspended for three years. I accepted the plea bargain because I was getting tired of going back and forth from Megiddo to court which is a long and tiring journey. I just wanted closure. 
In prison I helped in the kitchen and cooked for the other prisoners which I liked. I had a few family visits and I called home from a telephone provided by the prison authorities once every two weeks. I had an early release from prison and my parents were not informed. I was released on 25 July 2022 and I went home with the family of another prisoner.