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Home » Children »

Testimony: O.H.H.J.


Name:  O.H.H.J.
Age:  14
Date:  28 October 2019
Location:  Al 'Arrub camp, West Bank
Accusation:  Unknown

On 28 October 2019, a 14-year-old minor from Al 'Arrub refugee camp was arrested by Israeli soldiers from home at 3:00 a.m. He reports ill treatment. He reports consulting with a lawyer prior to interrogation but not being informed of his right to silence by the interrogators before each interrogation. He reports being released 9 days later after paying NIS 1,000. 

I was asleep when I woke up to the sound of Israeli soldiers banging on our back door at around 3:00 a.m. My father opened the door while I remained in bed. Shortly afterwards my father came to my bedroom and told me that the soldiers were looking for me.
I quickly got dressed and said goodbye to my family. The soldiers then took me outside and tied my hands to the front with one plastic tie which was tight and painful and left marks on my wrists for days. The soldiers did not tell my parents why they wanted to arrest me and did not give them any documents.
Once outside the soldiers led me a short distance to where some military jeeps were waiting. At the jeeps I was blindfolded and then put on the floor of one of the jeeps. Inside the jeep soldiers swore at me calling me “a son of a whore”. 
The jeep drove to the police station in Etzion settlement where I was taken for a medical examination. The doctor checked my pulse and chest and asked me if I had any allergies or Asthma. She removed the tie and the blindfold during the examination and then put them on again. 
After the medical examination I was taken to a court yard where I was left tied and blindfolded until around 1:30 p.m. During this time a soldier passed by and tightened the tie even more. Then he punched me in the back and kicked me on my leg which hurt a lot.  At around 1:30 p.m. I was taken for interrogation.
As soon as I entered the interrogation room the interrogator removed the blindfold and phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me I had the right to remain silent and told me to deny any accusations even if the interrogator shows me photos. The conversation lasted for about a minute. Then the interrogator turned his computer screen towards me and showed me a text in Arabic saying I had the right to remain silent.
Then the interrogator asked me whether I was going to be straightforward with him. Then he showed me photographs and wanted me to give him the names of the boys in the photographs. Then he pointed to one boy and told me that boy was my friend. I told him I had no idea who that boy was and that he was not my friend. The interrogation lasted for about 10 minutes. Then the interrogator showed me documents in Hebrew and wanted me to sign them but I refused to sign. I asked him to translate the documents but he never did. Then he took me outside.
At around 4:30 p.m. I was searched in my boxer shorts before being taken to a cell. In the evening I was taken to Ofer prison, near Jerusalem, where I was strip searched before being taken to section 13. The following day I was taken to Ofer military court. I was denied release on bail and the hearing was adjourned. My father attended the hearing and afterwards I was taken back to prison. 
Two days later I was taken to the settlement of Betar for another interrogation but I was never interrogated and I was taken back to prison. Two days later I was taken to Betar again and this time I was interrogated.
The interrogator allowed me to speak to a lawyer on the phone before he started to question me. The lawyer told me I had the right to remain silent and told me not to be afraid. The interrogator did not inform me of my right to silence and accused me of throwing stones on Route 60. He showed me the same photographs that the first interrogator at Etzion showed me. I denied the accusation and did not give any names. The interrogation lasted for about 15 minutes and I was not given any documents to sign. After the interrogation I was taken back to Ofer.
I attended three military court hearings and at the last one I was released. My father had to pay NIS 1,000 and the lawyer told me I had a suspended sentence for six months. My father was very upset because I did not confess, yet I was fined and served with a suspended sentence. I was released on 5 November 2019, and I went home with my father. We arrived home at around 11:30 p.m.