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Home » Children »

Testimony: H.A.L.L.


Name:  H.A.L.L.
Age:  17
Date:  20 December 2022
Location:  DCO Checkpoint, West Bank
Accusation:  Throwing stones / Molotov cocktails

On 20 December 2022, a 17-year-old minor from Ramallah was arrested by Israeli soldiers during clashes at a military checkpoint. He reports ill-treatment and being held in solitary confinement for 7 days in Al Mascobiyeh interrogation centre, in West Jerusalem. He was sentenced to 5.5 months in prison and fined NIS 2,000.

I was with some friends at the District Co-ordination Office checkpoint in Al Bireh when there were clashes with Israeli soldiers. It was around 5:00 p.m. Suddenly two military jeeps approached me; one drove fast behind me and I was in the middle. Then a group of soldiers started shooting from the side. I tried to run away but I tripped and fell, badly injuring my left hand. I had a deep cut and I was bleeding. My friends managed to escape.
Four soldiers grabbed me and started to slap and beat me: on my head, my back, my stomach, wherever they could hit. They were also swearing at me calling me "a son of a whore". They made me take off my T-shirt and used it to blindfold me. Then a soldier tied my hands behind my back with two plastic ties on top of each other. The ties were tight and painful and caused me pain, especially in my injured hand. 
The soldiers then led me on foot for about 5 minutes until we reached a military jeep where I was made to sit on the metal floor. Inside the jeep the soldiers continued to kick, slap and swear at me. I was driven to the police station in Binyamin settlement where I was left in a room, still bleeding heavily, for about three hours. 
About three hours later a soldier wiped off the blood, removed the blindfold and took me to an interrogation room. It was around 10:00 p.m. The interrogator saw my bleeding hand but did not remove my hand ties. He asked me how I injured it and I told him what had happened. He then called a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me not to be afraid and to answer the questions; not more and not less. He also told me I could remain silent. The interrogator and the interpreter were standing right beside me and they heard what the lawyer told me. We spoke for a matter of seconds. 
Then, without informing me of my right to silence, the interrogator told me 10 soldiers had testified against me. He told me I was accused of throwing stones and a Molotov cocktail and a pipe bomb at the soldiers. I denied the accusations and asked him to bring the soldiers to testify in front of me. He never did. 
The interrogator wanted to know the names of the boys who were with me. He wanted to know where they lived. He told me to save him and myself the trouble and confess, otherwise he was going to keep me for a long time. He questioned me for about two hours and spoke to me through the interpreter which took a long time. I continued to deny the accusation and told him I wanted to remain silent. He got upset and shouted at me and said I had to answer his questions if I wanted to go home.
Towards the end the interrogator asked me to sign something electronically. He did not show me a document or a text and I signed without knowing what it was, or what language it was in. Then I was taken to a military base where I was left in a cold room. The weather was cold and they turned two air conditioners on cold. I was cold and tired and still bleeding.
I wanted to sleep but the soldier in the room did not allow me to sleep. I asked him to let me sleep and he said yes, but then the minute I nodded off he kicked me and woke me up. I was not given any food for two days and I was not allowed to use the toilet. I was given one glass of water.
At around 7:00 p.m. I was taken to a hospital in West Jerusalem. At the hospital I remained hand tied. The doctor was upset with the soldiers and ordered them to untie me. I spent about four hours at the hospital, most of the time just waiting. One family felt sorry for me and saw how tired I was. I told them I was hungry so they got me something to eat and a drink but the soldiers who were guarding me did not allow it. 
Then the doctors examined my hand and stitched it with seven stitches. By then I had lost a lot of blood and was feeling weak. Then I was taken to Al Mascobiyeh police station, in West Jerusalem. I was strip searched and I felt the person who searched me deliberately humiliated me by focusing on my sensitive parts. 
After being strip searched I was put in a small cell where I was left in solitary confinement for seven days. The cell did not have any windows. There was a light which I did not control. I used to ask the guards to turn it off at night. I also asked for the time to keep track of the day. Next to my cell were other cells where prisoners were chatting and laughing together while I had no one to talk to. I found it hard mentally. There was a camera in the room and an open sewer in the ground. I had no privacy. I was in distress and was desperate to get out.
During these seven days the same interrogator would come into my cell urging me to confess if I wanted to go home. I was not informed of my rights while at Al Mascobiyeh. Also during this time I had three military court hearings. I was taken back and forth to Ofer military court, near Jerusalem. 
After seven days I was taken to the other cell where I spent 15 days with other detainees. Then I was taken to Ofer prison where I was strip searched again before being taken to section 13. 
I had about 20 military court hearings in all. At the last one, which was about a month before I was released, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to five-and-a-half months in prison and fined NIS 2,000. I was also given another four months in prison suspended for four years. I accepted the plea bargain because I was facing eight months in prison based on the prosecutor’s request.
I spent the rest of my prison sentence at Ofer. I spent the time exercising and praying. I did not have any family visits; the visiting permit for my parents to visits me was issued three weeks after I was released. I called home twice during this time from a telephone provided by the prison authorities. 
I lost a lot of school days in prison and I found it hard to keep up so I dropped out. My mother was upset with my decision to drop out of school. I now work at a restaurant in Ramallah to I earn some money. 
I was released at Ofer on 5 May 2023, and I went home with my father. I arrived home in the afternoon.