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Testimony: U.N.M.H.


Name: U.N.M.H.
Age: 15
Date of incident: 10 May 2016
Location: Qalandia, West Bank
Accusation: Setting a fire
On 10 May 2016, a 15-year-old minor from Qalandia was detained by Israeli soldiers at 4:40 p.m. while herding goats and accused of setting a fire. He reports ill treatment and being denied his basic legal rights under Israeli military law. He reports being released without charge 10 hours after he was detained. 
I was herding goats on land that belongs to my family near the settlement of Kochav Ya’akov at around 4:30 p.m. Suddenly eight Israeli soldiers approached me. One of them asked me what I was doing and I told him I was herding our goats.
One of the soldiers then took off my T-shirt and tied my hands with two plastic ties to the front. The ties were not painful. They led me away on foot and deliberately tripped me and made me fall into some thorny bushes which injured me. They took me to the settlement where three soldiers beat me.
About 30 minutes later I was put in the back of a military jeep and made me sit on the floor. They also blindfolded me. The jeep then drove inside the settlement and I was put in a shipping container.
About 10 minutes later a doctor examined me and treated my wounds. I was then taken back to the jeep which drove to the police station in Binyamin settlement. On arrival at the police station I was put in a room. The soldiers in the room made fun of me. I remained there for a few hours without food or drink. I asked to use the toilet but I was denied. At around midnight I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator had a tape recorder. He removed the blindfold and immediately asked me why I ran away from the soldiers. He did not inform me of my rights. I told him I did not run a way. He then brought a measuring tape and started to take measurements of me. He then brought a piece of metal, dipped my finger in ink and asked me to touch the metal piece. He told me they wanted to take my fingerprints to see if I set fire to the bushes near the settlement. When I told him I had nothing to do with the fire he lost his temper and started to shout. I continued to deny the accusation.
The interrogator then changed his tone and started to be friendly and tried to convince me to confess but I refused. He then showed me some documents in Hebrew and asked me to sign them but I refused and told him I wanted to speak to my parents and to ask them to appoint me a lawyer. He refused and swore at me saying I was "a son of a whore".
After about an hour into the interrogation three male soldiers and one female soldier walked into the room. The female soldier started to beat me in front of the other soldiers. During this time my phone rang and at this point the other three soldiers joined in beating me. Then they handcuffed me without removing the plastic ties and threw me on a mattress in the room. They blindfolded me and left me there until around 3:00 a.m.
At around 3:00 a.m. a commander walked in and asked me where I came from. When I told him I was from Qalandia he told me he wanted to teach me a lesson and left. Shortly afterwards another soldier came and removed the handcuffs. He drove me to the gate and told me to walk home.
I walked for a long distance. I was scared that settlers might attack me. I managed to rub the plastic ties against the rocks and to free my hands. I called my brother and described to him where I was. I sat on a rock and waited for my brother. By the time he arrived it was dawn and he took me home.