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Testimony: F.O.A.M.


Name: F.O.A.M.
Age: 16
Date: 10 October 2022
Location: Al Mazra'a Asharqiya, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones
On 10 October 2022, a 16-year-old minor from Al Mazra'a Asharqiya was arrested by Israeli soldiers while out walking at 7:30 p.m. and accused of throwing stones. He reports ill treatment. He reports consulting with a lawyer prior to interrogation but not being informed on his right to silence by the interrogator. He was sentenced to 6 months in prison and fined NIS 1,500.
I was ambushed by a group of Israeli soldiers at around 7:30 p.m. I was with my friends enjoying a walk in the hills when the soldiers surrounded us. One of the soldiers kicked me in my side and I was winded. I could not take a breath in and felt I was suffocating. It was a terrifying feeling. Another soldier kicked my legs and swore at me.
Then a soldier tied my hands behind my back with one plastic tie and tightened it hard. My hands swelled and the tie left marks on my wrists for days. I was also blindfolded and left on the ground for about 30 minutes. 
After about 30 minutes I was taken to the back of a military jeep where I sat on the metal floor. The jeep drove to a nearby military base where I was left on the ground outside for about three hours before being taken inside. I could not sleep and I was not given anything to eat or drink. At around 6:00 a.m. I was taken to the police station in Binyamin settlement. 
At the police station I was left in a room until around noon before being taken for interrogation. Before questioning me, the interrogator called a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me not to worry because the interrogator was not allowed to beat me. The conversation lasted for about a minute and the interrogator left the room.
The interrogator was dressed in civilian clothes. He did not remove the tie during the interrogation. The soldiers who arrested me were also in the room with a female soldier.
The interrogator did not inform me of my right to silence. He wanted to know what I was doing in the area where I was arrested and whether someone had sent me there. I told him I was having a picnic with my friends by a well on my friend’s land. He told me he did not believe me and accused me of intending to throw stones at settler cars. When I denied the accusation, he raised his voice at me and I yelled back at him. Then he told me my friends had confessed against me and told me to confess and not lie to him. I continued to deny the accusation.
He questioned me for bout 30 minutes. At the end he asked me to sign some documents written in Hebrew but I refused to sign something I did not understand. I asked for a translation but he did not provide a translation. 
After the interrogation I was taken to Ofer prison, near Jerusalem, where they wanted to strip search me but I refused to take off my clothes. They searched me in my boxer shorts. Then I was taken to the minors’ section. I arrived at Ofer at around 9:00 p.m. 
The following day I was taken to the military court. My father and brother attended and my detention was extended. 
About a week later I was taken for another interrogation. I was allowed to call a lawyer before the interrogation. The lawyer told me not to worry. The interrogator left the room during the phone call which lasted about three minutes.
Then, without informing me of my right to silence, the interrogator played a voice recording of me swearing at him. When I denied it was me he accused me of lying. He questioned me for about 90 minutes and was calm most of the time. At the end, when I was driving him crazy, he said I should wait and see who laughs last. Then he asked me to sign a pile of documents written in Hebrew but I refused to sign.
After the interrogation I was taken to a room with two other boys who were arrested with me. The interrogator came by and threatened to beat us up if we did not confess. Thankfully he did not carry forward his threat.
I had about seven military court hearings. At the last one, which was about a month before I was released, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to six months in prison and fined NIS 1,500. I also received a suspended sentence of another six months, suspended for three years. I was also put on a NIS 5,000 bond. I accepted the plea bargain based on my lawyer’s advice.
I spent my prison sentence at Ofer. My family visited me once and I was able to call home three times from a phone provided by the prison authorities. In prison I worked as a barber and I walked in the courtyard to keep fit. 
I was given an early release and I was released at a checkpoint near Tulkarem on 6 February 2023. My parents were not informed of my release and I took a lift with person who drove me to the nearby village and then I called my father who picked me up. I arrived home at around 7:30 p.m.