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Testimony: R.Y.M.S.


Name: R.Y.M.S.
Age: 15
Date: 31 August 2020
Location: Hebron, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones / protesting

On 31 August 2020, a 15-year-old minor from Hebron was served with a summons by Israeli soldiers at home at 2:00 a.m. and accused of throwing stones. He reports consulting with a lawyer prior to interrogation but not being informed of his right to silence by the interrogator. He was sentenced to 3.5 months in prison and fined NIS 2,000. He also received a suspended sentence. 

Israeli soldiers raided our home at around 2:00 a.m. I woke up to the sound of loud banging at the front door. My father rushed and opened the door before the soldiers broke it. About 20 soldiers entered our home and the commander immediately wanted to know where my wardrobe was. 
The soldiers searched my wardrobe and took a pair of trousers, a shirt and boots. The commander made me put them on and then took a picture of me wearing them. Then he told my father I was under arrest and would be questioned.  
A soldier then gave me a face mask before blindfolding me and taking me outside. They walked me a short distance and then the commander asked to see my identity card. When I told him I did not have one yet he told me he could not arrest me and took me back home. He scribbled something in Hebrew on a piece of paper and gave it to me and told me to come to the police station at 6:00 a.m. The commander told my father if I did not show up at 6:00 a.m. he would come back and destroy our house. 
Later that morning I went with my father to the police station as requested. We waited a short while and then a soldier told us to go home and come back in a week. 
A week later I went again to the police station with my father. My father and I waited about three hours and then a soldier told my father to go home and I was taken inside. A soldier shackled my legs and handcuffed me with my hands behind my back. The handcuffs were tight and painful. and my hands swelled up. When the interrogator came a soldier blindfolded me and took me into the interrogation room.
The interrogator wanted to know if I knew why I was in his office. I told him I had no idea. Then he told me he was going to let me know why shortly. He told me he was going to tell me stories and ask me questions and warned me not to lie to him if I wanted him to send me home.
Then he phoned a lawyer and I spoke to him. The lawyer told me the interrogator was not allowed to physically abuse me because I was a minor. I spoke to him for about a minute and the interrogator was listening. 
Then, without informing me of my right to silence, he accused me of taking part in protests and of throwing stones at soldiers. I denied the accusation. Then he accused me of assaulting a soldier with a stone which hit his head and caused him injury. I denied the accusation. Then he showed me photographs of clashes and accused me of taking part. When I did not say anything, he yelled at me and told me to answer his question. I thought I had to speak in order to defend myself. He also told me other detainees had confessed against me. 
The questioning continued on and off over a period of about four hours. Then the interrogator told me to get up and follow him. When I asked him where to he yelled at me and told me not to ask unnecessary questions. 
Outside the interrogation room my fingerprints and photograph was taken. Then the interrogator told me they suspected I was sick with Covid-19 and gave me a complete set of Corona Virus protective gear and asked me to put them on. Then I was taken to a cell at Etzion police station. At Etzion I was strip searched and I was left in the cell for one day.
The following day I was taken to Megiddo prison, inside Israel, where I was strip searched before being taken to the quarantine section. 
The next day I had a military court hearing by video link. My detention was extended and the hearing was adjourned. I had five military court hearings and at the last one, which was on 16 September 2020, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to three-and-a-half months in prison and fined NIS 2,000. I also received a three-year sentence suspended for five years. My lawyer advised me to accept the plea bargain and I did.
I spent 14 says at the quarantine section at Megiddo and then I was transferred to section 3 where I spent the rest of my sentence with other children. I did not have any family visits because my parents were not given permits to visit for security reasons. I was allowed to make a phone call every 14 days for about 10 minutes. The phone calls were closely monitored by two security guards who sat next to me as I spoke. Once when I asked my mother who else was arrested from my town the security guard took the phone away and ended the conversation.
In prison I was in charge of keeping the ward clean and tidy. I also attended classes in Arabic and Hebrew but the standard was very low. I was released at Al Jalama checkpoint on 30 November 2020, and I went home with my father. We arrived home in the evening. 
I dropped out of school after my release in order to work and earn money to help pay back the money my parents borrowed to pay the fine.