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Testimony: M.S.M.Q.


Name: M.S.M.Q.
Age: 16
Date: 6 February 2022
Location: Beit Fajjar, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing Molotov cocktails

On 6 February 2022, a 16-year-old minor from Beit Fajjar was arrested by Israeli soldiers from home 2:30 a.m. and accused of throwing Molotov cocktails. He reports ill treatment and being denied his basic legal rights under Israeli military law. He was sentenced to 9 months in prison and fined NIS 2,000. He also received a suspended sentence. 

I woke up when Israeli soldiers raided my friend’s house next door and arrested him at around 2:30 a.m. When soldiers tried to enter my house I tried to stop them because my mother was still asleep.  A soldier then grabbed me, kicked me on my legs and threw a small gas canaster at me which hit me on my side. Then the soldiers went into our house and searched it for weapons but did not find anything. About 30 soldiers were in our house trashing our furniture and turning things upside down. 
After searching our house the soldiers asked to see my identity card. When I showed it to them they told me I was under arrest. They did not say why and did not give my parents any documents. They spent about an hour inside our home. Then they took me outside where a soldier tied my hands behind my back with five plastic ties: two on each wrist and one connecting them in the middle. The ties were tight and painful and cut into my wrists until I bled. Later I was taken to a clinic where I was treated for the wounds. A soldier also blindfolded me and took me into a troop carrier where I sat on the metal floor. 
I was taken to the police station in Etzion settlement where I was left in a room until around 8:00 a.m. before being taken for interrogation. A soldier inside the interrogator’s room removed the blindfold and the ties. The interrogator was in civilian clothes. I greeted him as I entered the room but he did not greet me back. 
The interrogator refused to allow me to speak to my parents and did not phone a lawyer for me. He did not inform me of my right to silence and immediately started to question me. He asked me what I had done and then accused me of throwing a Molotov cocktail and a pipe bomb at the security camera outside the settlement of Migdal Oz. I denied the accusations. Then he wanted me to tell him where I had hidden the weapons. I told him I did not have any weapons. Then he told me my friends had confessed against me and showed me video footage of the incident. Then he told me he would not release me until I confessed. At that point I felt I had to confess. I confessed to throwing a Molotov cocktail at the security camera.
After I confessed the interrogator phoned a lawyer and told him to represent me. I did not speak to the lawyer. He did not ask me to sign any documents. After the interrogation I was taken to a cell together with other boys. I spent 11 days there. My first military court hearing was on 8 February 2022. It was on zoom but my parents were not informed. My detention was extended. 
I had six hearings. The last one was on 1 June 2022. I was sentenced in a plea bargain to nine months in prison and fined NIS 2,000. I also received another 10 months in prison suspended for three years. I accepted the plea bargain because otherwise I was facing 18 months in prison. 
After spending 11 days in the cell at Etzion police station, I was transferred to Ofer prison where I was strip searched before being taken into the minors’ section. I spent a few weeks there and then I was transferred to Damoun prison and then Megiddo prison - both inside Israel.
I was given early release and left prison on 25 July 2022 at Salem checkpoint. I went home by myself because my family were not informed. In prison I had two family visits and I studied Arabic and mathematics and I exercised. While in Megiddo I phoned my family from a telephone provided by the prison authorities once every two weeks.