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Testimony: H.A.M.H.


Name: H.A.M.H.
Age: 17
Date: 18 November 2021
Location: Husan, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones/Molotov cocktails

On 18 November 2021, a 17-year-old minor from Husan was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 3:30 a.m. and accused of throwing Molotov cocktails. Evidence of hostage taking. He reports being denied his basic legal rights under Israeli military law. He reports being held in solitary confinement for 6 days. He was sentenced to 4 months in prison and fined NIS 4,000.

My father phoned me at work at around 3:30 a.m. and told me to come home. I was working as a guard. I knew there was something wrong so I did not comply. He phoned me again and I did not answer. About 10 minutes later the Israeli commander phoned me and told me he had taken my father and brother as hostages until I turn myself in. I told him to come and arrest me from work.
Shortly afterwards, a military jeep showed up at my work. A soldier said they were going to take me for questioning for a short while and would release me soon. 
A soldier then tied my hands behind my back with one plastic tie which was not painful. He threatened if I caused him troubles he would tighten it. He also blindfolded me. The soldiers then walked me to a nearby military base at the settlement of Bitar Illit. They left me outside the settlement and my father came and brought my identity card. Then I was taken to the back of a troop carrier which took me to the police station in Etzion settlement.
At Etzion I was left outside in the hot sun for about six hours; until around noon. I was not given any food or drink and I was not allowed to use the toilet. Then I was searched in my boxer shorts before being taken to a cell where I was left in solitary confinement for six days. After six days they brought my brother in. I found the six days in solitary confinement hard to take as I had no idea how long it was going to last.
The following day I had a military court hearing which was conducted via video link. My parents did not attend because they were not notified. My detention was extended. On the fifth day I was handcuffed and shackled and then I was taken to Ofer, near Jerusalem, for interrogation. 
The interrogator asked me how I was and asked me to sit down on a chair. He asked me if I wanted to call a lawyer and I told him I did not. He did not call one for me. Then without informing me of my right to silence, he told me two of my friends had confessed against me. He accused me of throwing stones and Molotov cocktails. I denied the accusation and told him I did not know the boys whom he claimed had confessed against me. 
Then the interrogator wanted to know why, in my opinion, my friends had confessed against me if I did not do anything. When he asked me this question I mistakenly told the interrogator I had a fight with the two boys and that was why they confessed against me. The interrogator then realised I actually knew the two boys very well. 
I was questioned for about an hour and the interrogator was calm. He did not threaten or abuse me. At the end, the interrogator asked me to sign a document written in Hebrew. I signed without understanding what was written in it. After the interrogation I was taken back to Etzion police station.
I had seven military court hearings and at the last one, which was on 23 February 2022, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to four months in prison and fined NIS 4,000. I was also given a suspended sentence of a further 10 months in prison, suspended for five years. I accepted the plea bargain because my lawyer told me it was the best I was going to get.
After spending eight days at Etzion of which I spent six days in solitary confinement and two days with my brother, I was taken to Ofer prison. At Ofer I was strip searched before being taken to the juveniles’ section where I spent the rest of my prison sentence. 
In prison I had one family visit. I exercised and attended classes in Arabic and Hebrew, but then the teacher was sacked because she was too nice to us and brought us cakes. I was released from Ofer on 13 March 2022 and I went home with my friend. I arrived home at around noon.