|3 August 2023
|Beit Ummar, West Bank
|Setting a fire
On 3 August 2023, a 15-year-old minor from Beit Ummar was arrested by Israeli soldiers from home at 3:00 a.m. 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 8 hours later.
I woke up at around 3:00 a.m. to the sound of aggressive banging at our front door. Then I heard the sound of breaking glass and I rushed to the living room. My father rushed to open the door and about 10 Israeli soldiers came into our house. They broke the glass on the front door and were about to break the door open but my father got there just in time.
One of the soldiers called my name and I identified myself. He told me to get dressed because I was under arrest. Then he asked for my mobile phone. When I told him I did not have one he took my mother’s phone and found my name in her address book and called a number under my name but there was no ring. They gave my mother a document filled out in Hebrew and they asked her to sign it.
Then a soldier blindfolded me and tied my hands behind my back with two plastic ties tied together in a chain. The ties were tight and painful. Then they took me to the stairwell and went back in to search our house. They broke wardrobes and threw everything on the floor. They told us they were looking for weapons but they did not find any weapons.
After searching our house the soldiers took me away on foot. They walked me about 50 meters and then put me in the back of a military jeep and made me sit on a seat. I was left in the jeep for about 30 minutes and then I was taken somewhere and given a quick medical examination. I was left at that place for about two hours. Then I was taken to the police station in Etzion settlement. At around 9:00 a.m. someone removed the ties and the blindfold and took me for interrogation.
The interrogator was wearing a shirt and jeans. Before questioning me he phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him while he left the room. The lawyer told me I was about to be interrogated about a fire on a hill near the settlement and a Molotov cocktail. He told me not to confess and not allow the interrogator to trick me into confessing.
After speaking to the lawyer the interrogator returned and told me I was accused of setting fire to land near the settlement of Karni Zur. The interrogator did not inform me of my right to silence and I denied the accusation.
The interrogator then told me another boy had confessed against me and gave me his name. I told him I did not know that boy. He threatened to lock me up in prison for two years if I did not confess and to impose a seven-year security ban on my father to prevent him from entering Israel for work. I told him I did not care and was not going to confess to something I had nothing to do with. Then he gave me a specific date in July and said I set the hill on fire on that date. I denied the accusation and told him I was in Ramallah during the whole month of July.
The interrogator questioned me for about 40 minutes and at the end he asked me to sign a document written in Hebrew but I refused to sign because I did not trust what he had written. After the interrogation I was taken outside.
About 30 minutes later a soldier told me I was going to be released. I was released without charge and I went home with the family of another boy who was released with me. I arrived home at around 11:00 a.m. My father was not home because my lawyer had asked him to go to the military court to attend my hearing. My father was waiting outside Ofer court for my name to be called to let him in but my name was never called. When I arrived home my mother called my father and told him I was home.