|6 July 2020
|Hebron, West Bank
On 6 July 2020, a 15-year-old minor from Hebron was arrested by Israeli soldiers while tending to his pigeons at 10:30 a.m. and accused of throwing stones. He reports being denied his basic legal rights under Israeli military law. He was sentenced to 3 months in prison and fined NIS 4,000. He also received a suspended sentence.
I keep pigeons on the roof of our building as a hobby. On the day I was arrested I was on the roof exercising my pigeons at around 10:30 a.m. As usual I was preventing them returning to their cage too soon using a sling shot. An Israeli soldier guarding the nearby checkpoint thought I was aiming at him and he started shooting in my direction. I was terrified as I heard bullets passing very close to me but luckily I was not hit. I went downstairs and ran away.
Soon a large group of soldiers raided our home looking for me. They had a stretcher because I think they thought I had been shot dead and they wanted to take my body away. They phoned my father and told him I was shot dead. My father was terrified and came running home but then he calmed down when he saw me on the street. He told me I had to turn myself in to the soldiers because they threatened to kill my mother if I did not show up. When I heard this I turned myself in.
As soon as I turned myself in a soldier blindfolded me and tied my hands to the front with one plastic tie which was tight and painful. Then they walked me to a nearby military base and took me to the basement where I was examined by a doctor. I complained to the doctor about the hand tie and she replaced it with a looser one. She also removed the blindfold and asked me some questions about my health. I told the doctor I was shot at and that I was in shock.
After the medical check I was blindfolded again and the soldiers took me to the back of a jeep and made me sit on a seat. The jeep drove to another military base not too far away. I was left in a shipping container at the military base until around 10:00 p.m. Then a soldier removed the blindfold and I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator was an older man and had a voice recorder on his desk. He removed the tie and asked me how I was in a polite manner. Then he changed his tone and accused me of throwing stones at soldiers with a sling shot. I denied the accusation and told him I was keeping the pigeons away from their cage while they flew around. He questioned me without informing me of my rights. Then he wanted me to confess against my cousin and I refused and told him I did not do anything wrong nor did my cousin. Then he pulled his pistol from his pocket and placed it on the table in front of him and threatened to shoot me if I did not confess.
The interrogator then started to make fun of me and to impersonate me and I did the same back at him. He got mad and started to shout at me telling me to confess. Then he pulled out a pen knife and threatened to cut my throat. At that moment I lost control and stood up and started to bang my head against the wall until I bled. The interrogator looked worried and he ended the interrogation and told me I had the right to consult with a lawyer.
The interrogator phoned a lawyer and handed me the telephone. He told me to go to the toilet and speak to the lawyer there. The lawyer asked me for my name and age and but did not say anything about my legal rights. The conversation lasted for less than a minute.
The interrogator questioned me for about 90 minutes and at the end of the interrogation he showed me documents in Hebrew and asked me to sign them and I signed without understanding anything.
After the interrogation I was taken to the police station in Etzion settlement where I was searched in my boxer shorts before being taken to a cell with two other detainees. I spent a night at Etzion and then I was taken to Megiddo prison, inside Israel. At Megiddo I was searched in my clothes and then I was taken to the quarantine section.
Two days later I had a military court hearing by video. I asked my lawyer to allow me to speak to my mother and I did. I told her I was fine. My detention was extended and the hearing was adjourned. I had seven military court hearings and at the last one I was sentenced in a plea bargain to three months in prison and fined NIS 4,000. I was also given a suspended sentence of 10 months in prison suspended for three years. I accepted the bargain because my lawyer told me the prosecutor was asking for six months in prison for me.
I spent my prison sentence in Megiddo prison where I helped with cleaning and I exercised. I did not have any family visits because of the Corona Virus but I was allowed to make phone calls once every two weeks for 10 minutes. I was released at Al Jalama checkpoint on 2 September 2020. My parents were not informed and so were not waiting for me. I called them and waited at the checkpoint until they arrived and they took me home. We arrived home at 2:00 a.m.