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Home » Children »

Testimony: T.A.R.I.


Name: T.A.R.I.
Age: 17
Date: 15 February 2023
Location: Kafr Malek, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones/Molotov cocktails

On 15 February 2023, a 17-year-old minor from Kafr Malek was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:00 a.m. from home. He reports ill-treatment and being denied his basic legal rights under Israeli military law. He was sentenced to 8 months in prison and fined NIS 3,500. He also received a suspended sentence. 

My father heard loud banging at our front door at around 2:00 a.m. He opened the door and about 15 Israeli soldiers, most of whom were masked, came into our home. They came into my bedroom whilst I was still asleep. The commander woke me up and asked me for my name. Then he asked to see my identity card. Then he told me he wanted for questioning. 
The soldiers searched our house and damaged my bed and some items in the kitchen. About 20 minutes later the soldiers took me outside without giving my parents a document explaining my arrest. By the door a soldier tied my hands behind my back with three plastic ties: one on each wrist and a third one connecting the two. The ties were tight and left marks on my wrists. Then I was blindfolded and taken into the back of a military jeep which was waiting outside the house.
One of the soldiers called me "a son of a whore" and then pushed me on the metal floor of the jeep. Other soldiers kicked and slapped me and swore at me. I was taken to Ofra settlement where I was left in a shipping container until around 7:00 a.m. I was not given any food or water but I was allowed to use a toilet. During this time soldiers kicked me and swore at me. 
At around 7:00 a.m. I was taken to the police station in Binyamin settlement. At the police station I was taken into a cage and I was left there for about two hours. Then a soldier removed the blindfold and took me for interrogation.
The interrogator was wearing an Israeli police uniform. He did not allow me to speak to a lawyer but told me I had to answer him with a yes or no. He did not inform me of my right to silence. He accused me of throwing stones and a Molotov cocktail. He gave me a date and place and told me soldiers had testified against me. I denied the accusations.
Then the interrogator became angry. He shouted at me and told me I had to confess. He accused me of lying and sarcastically told me if I did not confess he was going to take me to "hotel Ofer". He questioned me for about one-and-a-half hours. At the end he called a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me I should not confess and should not speak. When I told the lawyer I had already been interrogated the line was cut off. The call lasted for less than a minute and the interrogator was listening. Then the interrogator read out my statement in Arabic and then asked me to sign a document which was written in Hebrew. I signed because what he read out to me was accurate.
Then I was taken to Ofer prison, near Jerusalem, where I was strip searched before being taken to section 13. 
Two days later I was taken to Ofer military court. My father was there and my detention was extended. I had five more hearings. At the last one I was sentenced in a plea bargain to eight months in prison and fined NIS 3,500. I also received another six months in prison suspended for five years as well as a NIS 10,000 bond. My father and my lawyer encouraged me to accept the plea bargain and I did. I was sentenced about six weeks before I was to be released.
I spent my prison sentence at Ofer where I attended classes in Arabic, Hebrew and Mathematics. I found the classes boring. I also exercised. I had five family visits and I was allowed to call home once every two weeks from a telephone provided by the prison authorities.
I was given an early release. I was released at Beit Sire checkpoint on 13 September 2023. My parents were not informed about my early release, so no one was waiting for me at the checkpoint. I took a taxi to Ramallah and then called my father who picked me up and took me home. I arrived home at around 7:00 p.m. I was so excited to finally be home.
I don’t go to school anymore; I work with my father in construction. The prison authorities never gave me back my identity card.