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Testimony: A.J.A.F.


Name: A.J.A.F.
Age: 17
Date: 31 July 2021
Location: Tubas, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones

On 31 July 2021, a 17-year-old minor from Tubas was arrested by Israeli soldiers at a military checkpoint at 4:00 p.m. and accused of throwing stones. He reports ill treatment and being denied his basic legal rights under Israeli military law. He reports spending 7 days in solitary confinement. He was sentenced to 2 months in prison and fined NIS 2,000.

I was at Tayaseer military checkpoint when I was approached by an Israeli military jeep. It was around 4:00 p.m. About six soldiers got out of the jeep and grabbed me. They swore at me and started to kick me. Then one of the soldiers tied my hands to the front with two plastic ties: one around my wrists and another higher up near my elbows. The ties were very tight and painful. Then I was blindfolded and made me sit by the jeep for about an hour. 
After an hour they took me to the back of the jeep and made me sit on the metal floor. I felt claustrophobic inside the small jeep. The jeep drove to the police station in Etzion settlement where I was left in a room, tied and blindfolded until around noon the following day. The soldiers who guarded me did not allow me to sleep and woke me up when I nodded off. I was not given any food or drink. At around 12:00 p.m. on 1 August I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator removed the blindfold and the ties and shackled my feet. He did not allow me to speak to a lawyer and did not inform me of my right to remain silent. He showed me images of boys throwing stones at soldiers and accused me of taking part.  When I denied the accusation, he swore at god and told me a soldier had seen me throwing stones at soldiers. He told me if I confessed he would send me home, he promised he would. 
He questioned me for bout 30 minutes and swore the whole time. At one point he blindfolded me again because I refused to confess. At the end of the interrogation he asked me to sign a document written in Hebrew and I did. Then I was given a COVID test and they took a DNA sample from my mouth. Afterwards I was strip searched and taken to a cell with other boys. 
I spent two days at Etzion and then I was taken to Ofer prison, near Jerusalem, where I spent seven days in solitary confinement. Then they brought in another boy and I spent another five days there. The seven days were very hard. I was treated like a dog. They gave me dry bread and threw the food on the floor. I lost interest in life and was desperate to get out. About a week after my arrest I had a military court hearing via zoom. My mother attended and the military judge extended my detention. 
Then, after spending 12 days at Ofer I was taken to Ramla prison, inside Israel, where I had another interrogation. This time I was asked strange questions. The interrogator asked me what I knew about Hamas and whether they were strong in the West Bank. The interrogator also asked me about Jihad Islami and whether they had lots of followers in the West Bank. I told him I knew nothing. The interrogator did not allow me to speak to a lawyer and did not inform me of my right to silence. 
In all I had four military court hearings and at the last one I was sentenced in a plea bargain to two months in prison and fined NIS 2,000. I was also told I was banned from entering Israel or Jerusalem and from crossing any checkpoint. 
I spent two days at Ramla prison and then I was transferred to the quarantine section at Ofer where I spent 14 days. Then I was transferred to section 13 where I spent the rest of my prison sentence. In prison I played table tennis and chatted to the other prisoners. I did not have any family visits.
I was released from Ofer on 20 September 2021, and I went home with my parents and cousins. We arrived home at midnight.