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Testimony: S.M.H.A.


Name: S.M.H.A.
Age: 16
Date: 4 September 2019
Location: Qalandiya camp, West Bank
Accusation: Administrative Detention

On 4 September 2019, a 16-year-old minor from Qalandiya refugee camp was arrested by Israeli soldiers after responding to a phone summons. He reports being informed of his basic legal rights under Israeli military law. He reports being held in solitary confinement for 2 days. He reports being given an Administrative Detention order for 4 months. 

The military commander phoned my father on Wednesday afternoon and told him to bring me over to Ofer prison. That same day I went with my father to Ofer at 7:00 p.m. At the entrance my father and I were searched over our clothes. Then we were taken in a military jeep to another part of the base. 
The military commander phoned my father again and told him he was going to detain me and told my father to go home. He told my father he was going to put me under administrative detention.  My father objected but the commander did not change his mind. 
My father said goodbye to me and I was transferred into another jeep. I was tied with my hands to the front with three plastic ties: one on each wrist and another connecting the two. The ties were not painful. I was also blindfolded. Soldiers inside the jeep made fun of me and accused me of throwing stones. They told me the Palestinian leader knows nothing about anything and that he betrayed his people. 
I was taken to a room where I was strip searched and then I was taken to section 13 at Ofer. By this time it was around 10:00 p.m. The following morning I was taken for interrogation by an intelligence officer.
As soon as I entered the room the interrogator showed me a document detailing my rights. It said I had the right to consult with a lawyer and the right to remain silent. Then he allowed me to speak to my father and then he called a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me not to worry. The interrogator left the room during the conversation with the lawyer which lasted less than a minute.
Then the interrogator told me there were confessions against me that I was involved in shooting in the air and possessing illegal weapons. He also told me I was accused of membership in a banned organisation. I denied the accusation and told him I was going to practice my right to remain silent. He got very upset and told me I was causing him problems by remaining silent and it would go against me in court. He questioned me for about 30 minutes. Then I was taken back to prison. 
The following day I was told to prepare myself for another interrogation. I was taken to Al Mascobiyeh interrogation centre, in West Jerusalem. I was strip searched and then I was taken to a small cell no bigger than 3 x 3 meters. It had no windows but there was a ventilator near the ceiling and the light was on the whole time. I was left there for about 30 minutes and then I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator was female and she gave me a document about my rights. Then she named a person and asked me whether I knew him. I told her I did not. Then she asked me whether I had heard of terrorist attacks recently. I told her I knew about the stabbing attack my brother was involved in during which he was shot dead. She then asked me about another attack which involved explosives and I told her I had not heard about it.
Then she warned me, she said if I behaved myself with her she would be good with me and that the opposite was true. She questioned me for about 30 minutes and then I was taken back to the small cell. I was left in the cell by myself for two days. Then I was taken to Ofer prison.
I had three military court hearings and at the last one I was served with an administrative detention order for four months. I was not charged with anything. I spent the whole time at Ofer. It was a very hard experience because I knew the authorities could renew the administrative detention order at the last minute.  But thankfully they did not. I was released on 2 January 2020, and I went home with my father. I arrived home at around 2:00 p.m. 
In prison I attended Arabic and Hebrew classes and exercised a lot to keep fit. My family visited me only once because it took a long time for the permit to visit to be issued.