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Testimony: T.A.F.S.


Name: T.A.F.S.
Age: 15
Date: 7 August 2020
Location: Beit Furik, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones / Pipe bombs

On 7 August 2020, a 15-year-old minor from Balata refugee camp was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 5:00 p.m. near the Beit Furik checkpoint. He reports ill treatment and being denied his basic legal rights under Israeli military law. He was sentenced to 3 months in prison and also received a suspended sentence. 

I was arrested at the Beit Furik military checkpoint at around 5:00 p.m. At the time there were minor clashes taking place between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians. I was grabbed by a group of soldiers who then beat me. They kicked me and struck me with the back of their guns. They also swore at me. A soldier blindfolded me and tied my hands behind my back with one plastic tie which was so tight that my hands turned blue and the tie left marks on my wrists for weeks.  I was then left me on the ground until around 2:30 a.m. 
At around 2:30 a.m. I was taken to Ariel settlement where I was left in a small room for about an hour before being taken for interrogation. It was around 3:30 or 4:00 a.m.
The interrogator removed the blindfold and tie and immediately asked me why I threw stones at soldiers. I denied the accusation. Then he accused me of possessing pipe bombs. I denied that accusation too. He questioned me without informing me of my rights and I did not have access to a lawyer before the interrogation. 
He questioned me for about 30 minutes and at times he was calm and other times he was aggressive. He threatened if I did not confess he was going to throw me in prison for a long time. He also threatened to revoke my father’s work permit. At the end of the interrogation he told me I had the right to consult with a lawyer but he did not call a lawyer for me. Then he showed me documents in Hebrew and asked me to write my name on the document and I did.
After the interrogation I was taken to Huwwara military base where I was searched in my boxer shorts before being taken to a room by myself. I spent one night in the room and then I was taken to Megiddo prison, inside Israel, where I was again searched in my boxer shorts before being taken to the quarantine section used for the Corona Virus.
The following day I had a military court hearing by video link. I did not understand what was going on in the court but my lawyer told me the hearing was adjourned until another date. I had three military court hearings and at the last one I was sentenced in a plea bargain to three months in prison. I think they wanted my father to pay a fine but my father told the court he did not have any money and I think they pardoned him. I was also given another 19 months in prison suspended for three years. This included a suspended sentence from a previous imprisonment.
In prison I did not have any family visits because of the Corona Virus. I was allowed to make phone calls once every two weeks. I was released at Al Jalama checkpoint on 11 October 2020, and I went home with my brothers. We arrived home at around 8:00 p.m.