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Testimony: H.K.H.A.


Name: H.K.H.A.
Age: 17
Date: 22 October 2017
Location: Tuqu, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones/Molotovs

On 22 October 2017, a 17-year-old youth from Tuqu is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 1:30 a.m. and accused of throwing stones and Molotov cocktails. He reports being interrogated without being informed of his legal rights.

I was watching television at around 1:30 a.m. when I heard the sound of military jeeps in the neighbourhood. I looked out the window and saw three jeeps and an armoured vehicle.
Shortly afterwards I heard loud banging at the door of my father's shop below our house. Then I heard somebody shouting “open up, open up”. I woke my mother up and told her soldiers were downstairs. When the soldiers saw my father on the balcony they told him to let them into our house.
About 30 soldiers surrounded our house and some entered. Three soldiers were wearing masks. They immediately asked to see my identity card and the commander compared it to a list he had. He then said I was under arrest. He did not give a reason or say where he wanted to take me. Then they wanted to see my telephone and when I told them I did not have one they stormed into my bedroom and started to search looking for the phone. They threw everything on the floor and made a huge mess and took away an old broken telephone.
They allowed me to put on some clothes and to say goodbye to my family before they took me outside. Then they tied my hands to the front with three plastic ties: one on each wrist and another connecting the two. The ties were not painful. Then they blindfolded me and a soldier slapped me on the face.
They led me a short distance to where the armoured vehicle was waiting. I heard a soldier cock his gun while we were walking which terrified me. I think they wanted to keep my family from following me. They also pushed me and I fell to the ground. I was made to sit on the metal floor of the vehicle which drove to the nearby military base.
At the military base I was examined by a doctor. The doctor did not remove the ties or the blindfold. A soldier walked in and asked me for the password for the chip in the broken telephone and slapped me in front of the doctor who did not say or do anything. Then I was taken to another room where they made me sit on a stool until around 7:00 a.m. I could not sleep on the stool because I could not rest my back and when I asked to sleep on the floor the soldiers did not allow me. Then I was taken to the police station in Etzion settlement.
On arrival at Etzion I was immediately taken for interrogation. The interrogator removed the blindfold but kept me tied. He did not inform me of any rights. He asked me whether I wanted to cooperate with him man to man or whether I wanted him to treat me like an animal. I told him I wanted to be treated like a man. Then he accused me of throwing stones and I denied the accusation. Then he took me to another room where he punched and slapped me in my stomach and legs and swore at me calling me a "son of a whore". Then I was taken to see another interrogator.
The second interrogator had a tape recorder. He removed the ties and accused me of throwing stones and Molotov cocktails. Then he showed me some photographs of my friends and told me they had confessed against me. He told me I was accused of throwing stones and Molotov cocktails based on their confessions. I told him I did not know the boys and denied the accusations. He showed me more photographs and told me they were of me but I denied it. Then he showed me some names and I told him I did not know any of them.
In the end he told me I had the right to consult with a lawyer. Then he phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to her. The lawyer told me she would see me in court and told me not to say anything even if I am beaten. The interrogator did not inform me of my right to silence. He gave me a document in Hebrew and asked me to sign it and I did. He told me it was my statement.
Then they allowed me to use the toilet. Afterwards they tied my hands as before and blindfolded me and took me to a courtyard and made me turn my face to the wall. I remained there until around 3:00 p.m.
At around 3:00 p.m. I was searched in my underwear and taken to a cell in Etzion where they removed the ties and the blindfold and gave me some food. I remained in the cell for about two hours. After two hours I was taken to Ofer prison where I was strip searched and taken into Section 13.
Four days later I was taken to Ofer military court. My father was in court but the hearing was adjourned because the prosecutor did not have a charge sheet ready. I had another hearing and that was when the court decided to release me on bail. My father had to pay 2,000 shekels bail. The lawyer told me in the six months following my release on bail anything could happen including re-arrest. She also told me if no charge sheet is presented within six months my file would be closed.
I was released on 1 November 2017 and I went home with my parents and sister. Since my release on bail I worry that they might come and arrest me any time. I wake up to the slightest sound outside and my mother finds it hard to sleep at night worrying that soldiers might raid our house again.