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Testimony: M.M.M.H.


Name:  M.M.M.H.
Age:  13
Date:  27 June 2019
Location:  Bethlehem, West Bank
Accusation:  Weapon possession

On 27 June 2019, the family of a 13-year-old minor from Bethlehem were served with a summons at 3:00 a.m. for their son to attend an interrogation. 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 released 3 weeks later on payment of NIS 500. 

I woke up at around 3:00 a.m. to the sound of a loud explosion at our front door. I got up and went to the living room to see what was going on. My mother, who was nursing my twin brothers, opened the door and about 20 Israeli soldiers entered our home with more outside. 
The commander told my father he wanted to search the house for pipe bombs. The soldiers searched the house and made a huge mess, turning furniture upside down and throwing clothes on the floor. They did not find anything. Then the commander gave my father a document written in Hebrew telling him to bring me to the police station by 9:00 a.m. The soldiers then left but I could not sleep. 
Later that morning my father took me to the police station in Etzion settlement as ordered. We were there at 9:00 a.m. I was immediately taken inside and my father was told to wait outside. 
Once inside the police station my hands were tied to the front with three plastic ties which were tight and painful. The ties left marks on my wrists. Then I was taken for interrogation. 
The interrogator was in civilian clothes and had a camera and a voice recorder in the room. He turned them on and welcomed me in. Before asking me any questions he rang a lawyer and then put the telephone on speaker. He then told me to speak to the lawyer. The lawyer told me to take care of myself and not to be afraid and that he was going to represent me.  Then he told me not to say much. The conversation lasted for less than a minute and the interrogator heard every word the lawyer said. Neither the lawyer nor the interrogator told me I had the right to remain silent. 
Then the interrogator asked me what had happened and where I had hidden the pipe bombs. He told me to be a real man and tell him where the pipe bombs were hidden because the soldiers did not find them when they searched our house. I denied I had any pipe bombs.
Then he accused me of verbally abusing the area commander on Facebook. I denied the accusation and told him my Facebook had been hacked and I had nothing to do with it. Then the interrogator threatened that if I did not confess he was going to bring in people who would make me confess by beating me. 
I was questioned for about three hours and the interrogator kept repeating the same accusations over and over again. The interrogator told me not to waste his time and confess so that he could send my father home quickly. I continued to deny the accusations and did not confess.
Then the interrogator wanted me to sign a document written in Hebrew without explaining to me what it was. I refused to sign. 
Then I was taken outside where a soldier punched me in the face as I went down the stairs and caused me a lot of pain in my nose. Then I was taken to Ofer prison, near Jerusalem, where I was strip searched and told to crouch up and down several times while naked before being taken to section 13.
The following day I was taken to Ofer military court. My mother attended and the hearing lasted a few minutes before being adjourned. I had two hearings and at the last one I was told I was going to be released if I paid a fine of NIS 2,000. My lawyer told the military court my family could not afford to pay NIS 2,000 and the military judge reduced it to NIS 500. I did not understand much of what went on in court and I did not know the exact conditions of my release. 
I was released on 16 July 2019, and I arrived home at around 10:30 p.m. My father told me his work permit had been revoked while I was in prison and that he was not allowed to enter Israel anymore. He is a skilled painter but he is now unemployed and the financial situation of the family is very difficult.