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Testimony: M.A.H.A.


Name:  M.A.H.A.
Age:  16
Date:  14 May 2023
Location:  Husan, West Bank
Accusation:  Throwing stones

On 14 May 2023, a 16-year-old minor from Husan was arrested by Israeli soldiers while at work at 2:00 p.m. and accused of throwing stones at a vehicile. He reports being denied her basic legal rights under Israeli military law. He was released without charge after spending 10 days in detention.

I was at work when an Israeli military jeep approached the area and soldiers started to shoot in the air. It was around 2:00 p.m. Everyone went outside to see what was going on, including me. Then one of the soldiers fired shots in the air in my direction and gestured to me to come over. I turned to go back into the workshop and the soldier followed me. He grabbed me by the T-shirt and took me outside.
My employer tried to intervene and told the soldier I had done nothing wrong and I was at work all day. At that point the soldier fired shots in the air right by my face and I was terrified. One movement in the wrong direction and I would have been dead. 
Then the soldier tied my hands to the front with three plastic ties: one on each wrist and another connecting the two. The ties were tight and painful. Then he pushed me into the back of a jeep where I sat on a seat. The jeep drove to the nearby military base where one of the soldiers tightened the plastic ties even more. 
At the military base I was taken out of the jeep and a female soldier blindfolded me and painfully pushed my head down while leading me into the military base where I was taken to a room. She left me there for about an hour and made me turn my face to the wall. Then the military commander came and started to question me without allowing me to speak to a lawyer or informing me of my right to silence. 
The commander wanted to know who was with me when I was arrested. I told him I was at work and did not do anything wrong. I told him to check the CCTV cameras if he did not believe me. He questioned me for about 20 minutes and threatened to prevent my father and brothers from ever entering Israel for work or any other reason if I didn't confess to taking part in protests. He also threatened to make my father pay NIS 30,000. I was worried about my family and took his threats seriously. I denied the accusation and told him I was at work and did not take part in anything. 
About 30 minutes later I was taken to the police station in the settlement of Bitar Illit. On the way soldiers swore at me calling me a "dirty fucker". I was taken to a room for about 30 minutes before being taken outside where I was left in the sun for about two hours. Then I was taken for interrogation. It was around 5:00 p.m.
There was an interpreter in the room who removed my blindfold but kept me tied. The interrogator was wearing an Israeli police uniform. He told me he was going to record the session. Before questioning me, he phoned a lawyer for me and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me not to confess and asked me for my father’s telephone number. Then the line was cut off and the interrogator took the hand set away from me.  I spoke for less than a minute while the interrogator stood over my head and listened to the call.
The interrogator did not inform me of my right to silence. Straight away he wanted to know the distance between me and the car which was hit by a stone. I told him I did not throw stones at cars. He framed his questions in such a way as if it was accepted that I threw stones and all he needed were the details. I denied the accusation but he ignored my answer and continued to request information about the incident. I told him I was not there and was not involved. 
Then he asked me to describe to him how Molotov cocktails are prepared. I told him I did not know and never prepared one. He questioned me through the interpreter for about two hours and was typing on his computer the whole time. Then he took my photograph and fingerprints and asked me to sign a document written in Hebrew. When I asked him to tell me what was written in it he told me it was what I had told him. Then I signed.
After being interrogated I was taken to a vehicle which drove along the main road to where an Israeli ambulance was waiting. I was given a quick medical examination by a paramedic in the ambulance. He asked me whether I took drugs and whether I had any illnesses. Then I was taken to Al Mascobiyeh police station in West Jerusalem. I arrived there at around 1:00 a.m.
On arrival at the police station I was given another medical examination. Then I was strip searched before being taken to a cell with other boys. There was no bed for me in the cell. One of the boys woke up and gave me his blanket and I slept on the blanket on the floor. I did not sleep well. 
Later that morning I was taken to another cell which had a bed for me but there was no mattress. I slept on a blanket on the metal bed. Later in the day I asked for a mattress and they brought me one.
The following day I was taken to Ofer military court, near Jerusalem. My parents attended and my detention was extended. After the court I was taken to Ofer prison where I was strip searched again before being taken to a small cell with three other boys because there was no room for me in section 13. The cell measured about 3 x 3 meters and only had two beds. I shared a bed with one of the boys and the other two boys shared the other bed. The cell did not have any windows and they left the light on until 5:00 a.m. I was so tired that I fell asleep.
I was taken to the military court three more times. Twice I attended hearings and my detention was extended and once I was left in the waiting room from around 7:00 a.m. until around 5:00 p.m. without being taken into the court room. My last hearing was on the 24 May 2023. My lawyer spoke to me before the session and told me I was going to be released without charge.
On 24 May I was taken into the court room and the military judge told he had decided to release me because my lawyer showed him CCTV footage proving I was at work and not on the street when the car was hit by stones. I could not believe it. My mother and brother were in court and they were very happy. My parents did not have to pay any fines and I was given a document in Hebrew with the court decision.
I was released the same day at around 6:30 p.m. A military jeep dropped me off at Al-Jib checkpoint but my parents were told to pick me up at Ofer checkpoint. I took a taxi to Al-Izariya and my three brothers together with my best friend picked me up from there and took me home. We arrived home at around 9:00 p.m.