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Testimony: A.M.H.S.


Name:  A.M.H.S.
Age:  16
Date:  29 April 2022
Location:  Douha, West Bank
Accusation:  Entering Jerusalem without a permit

On 29 April 2022, a 16-year-old from Douha was arrested at 10:00 a.m. attempting to enter Jerusalem without a permit. He reports ill treatment. He reports consulting with a lawyer but not being informed of his right to silence by the interrogator. He reports being held in solitary confinement for 8 days. He was sentenced to 2 months in prison and fined NIS 2,000.

I wanted to go to Jerusalem to pray at the mosque during the month of Ramadan so I crossed over the separation barrier near the town of Beit Jalal together with some friends and ran as fast as I could. It was around 10:00 a.m. I didn't get far before I was ambushed by a group of Israeli soldiers. I told the soldiers I had no idea where I was and just wanted to go to the mosque.
The soldiers took me to the back of a military jeep and made me sit on a seat. The jeep drove to a nearby military base where the soldiers left me on a metal chair in a corridor. A masked man accused me of being a member of Hamas and slapped and kicked me as he went by. The other soldiers saw him but did not do anything except one soldier who told him to stop. When that soldier left the masked person started to beat me again. When I fell asleep the soldiers kicked me to keep me awake. At around 4:00 p.m. I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator was in civilian clothes. He had a camera and a voice recorder on his table. He asked me whether I remembered him and I told him I did from a previous arrest. Then he phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me not to worry and not to sign any documents. The interrogator was listening on speaker phone and the conversation lasted for about two minutes. 
Then, without informing me of my right to silence, the interrogator accused me of entering Jerusalem without a permit. Then he accused me of weapons possession and of membership of a banned organisation. I confessed to attempting to enter Jerusalem without a permit but denied the other accusations.  I was questioned for about 10 minutes and then the interrogator told me to sign papers written in Hebrew and I signed without understanding anything. 
After the interrogation I was taken to a detention centre inside Israel. I think it was called Offek. When we arrived I was searched in my boxer shorts before being taken to a small cell where I was kept in solitary confinement for eight days. 
The cell measured about 2 x 1 meters and had a bunk bed and a toilet all in this small space. There was no space to walk around, I just sat on the bed the whole time. There was a small window and I could tell day from night but I felt I was suffocating and lonely. I started to talk to myself and say “how are you doing?” and then I would answer. I needed to hear a voice. I felt I was psychologically handicapped after a few days and I lost my appetite. I lost hope and started to think of ways to commit suicide. It was tough. 
After eight days I was taken to a cell with another boy and I could not stop talking to him. In the end he begged me to stop.  I spent another 18 days with the boy and then I was taken to another section with other boys.
My first military court hearing was at Ofer on the third day following my arrest. My parents were not informed and they did not attend. I had four more court hearings and at the last one, which was 18 days before I was released, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to two months in prison and fined NIS 2,000. I don’t know if I was given a suspended sentence. I accepted the plea bargain because I wanted to go home.  
In prison I attended classes and played chess and backgammon. I also listed to Egyptian songs. The food was not good. I was released on 29 May 2022 at a checkpoint near Tulkarem and I took a taxi home. I arrived home at around 10:00 p.m.