|Date:||9 August 2017|
|Location:||Tuqu'. West Bank|
On 9 August 2017 a 15-year-old youth from Tuqu' is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 1:30 a.m. He reports that initially he was interrogated while tied and blindfolded and without being informed of his legal rights.
I was up at around 1:30 a.m. looking at Facebook feeds about Israeli military activities and arrests in my village. The night before a friend of mine told me the interrogator who questioned him showed him photos of me. When I read the news on Facebook I expected they would come for me.
Shortly afterwards soldiers knocked at our door and my brother answered. About 12 soldiers entered our home and told my father they wanted to arrest me. They gave him a printed form with handwritten notes in Hebrew with details about my arrest. My brother told me to be strong and not give names when interrogated.
The soldiers took me outside where they tied my hands behind my back with three plastic ties: one on each wrist and another connecting the two. The ties were not painful. They walked me a short distance and made me sit on the ground behind a military jeep where they blindfolded me. The blindfold was tight and caused me pain. Then I was put in the back of a jeep where I was made to sit on the metal floor.
The jeep drove around the village and then went to a nearby military base. A soldier at the base asked to see my telephone. When I refused he kicked me hard which was painful.
Then the soldier took me around the base on foot. I think he wanted to make sure I was disoriented. He sarcastically told this was a tour around the Ka’ba. Then I was taken inside where a doctor removed the ties and the blindfold and asked me some questions about my health. Then he tied and blindfolded me again.
After the medical check I was taken in a troop carrier to another military base where I was put in a room until around 10:00 a.m. I was not given any food or drink and I could not sleep because the soldiers around me were very noisy.
At around 10:00 a.m. I was taken back to the troop carrier which picked up other detainees from another base and then drove to the police station in Etzion settlement. At Etzion I was left in an outdoor area in the sun. I was so tired that I fell asleep for about 15 minutes but then the interrogator came and slapped me hard on my neck and took me to a room.
The interrogator did not inform me of my rights and did not remove the ties or the blindfold. He immediately accused me of throwing three Molotov cocktails the day before I was arrested. I denied the accusation.
Then the interrogator removed the blindfold, aggressively held my face and asked me whether I was truly a man. When I said I was he said “let us then speak man to man and I will release you within half-an-hour”. He told me if I confessed he would send me home. When I denied the accusation and refused to confess he raised his voice at me and told me I had to confess. He threatened if I did not confess he was going to lock me up in prison for four years.
Then a second interrogator came and took me to another room. The second interrogator had a tape recorder and played good cop and told me the first interrogator was short tempered and angry but things were different with him. He told me the two of us could sort things out and come to an agreement. Then he told me he wanted me to a lawyer. He called a lawyer and allowed me to speak to her. The lawyer told me not to confess and to remain silent. She also told me if I was subjected to pressure to confess to throwing one stone which missed.
The second interrogator then left the room and came back with two cups of coffee. He asked me if I smoked and I said I did not. Then he started talking about his son and how he wished his son would quit smoking. Then he wanted to know why I threw Molotov cocktails at soldiers the day before my arrest. Then he named a friend of mine, the same boy who had told me the interrogator had photographic evidence against me, and asked me whether I knew that boy. When I said I did not know him he reminded me he was the one who spoke to me two days ago and named the place where we sat together. Then he told me the boy had confessed against me and told him that I threw stones using sling shots. I denied the accusation.
Then the interrogator showed me a document in Arabic informing me of my right to remain silent. He asked me to sign it but I refused to sign. During the interrogation he was typing on his computer. Then he printed out what he was typing in Hebrew and asked me to sign. When I refused to sign and asked him to translate it for me he told me he was not allowed to translate it for me. Then I told him I could not read or write. He told me he would hold my hand and help me scribble a signature on the document. He kept insisting that I had to sign. By then it was around 3:00 p.m. and I was tired and sick of this so I decided to sign. I continued to deny the accusation and refused to confess. The interrogator told me I would be convicted even if I did not confess because my friend had confessed against me and that was enough evidence.
Then the interrogator showed me photographs of boys and asked me to identify them but I told him I did not know them. Then he asked me if I had anything more to say and I told him I was tired and wanted to get out of there. The interrogation lasted for about five hours during which time I was without food or drink. When I asked to use the toilet he told I would be allowed to use the toilet after the interrogation.
After the interrogation I was searched in my underwear and taken to a cell in Etzion. About 15 minutes later I was put in a GMC vehicle and driven to Ofer prison where I was strip-searched. After being searched I was taken to Section 13.
The following day I was taken to Ofer military court. I had my first meal in the court complex. My parents did not attend the hearing because they did not know I was in court and the proceedings were adjourned.
In all I had six military court appearances. At the last appearance I was sentenced in a plea bargain to three months in prison and fined 2,000 shekels. I was also given a suspended sentence of six months in prison valid for three years. I accepted the plea bargain because the prosecutor dropped the more serious accusations of throwing Molotov and as a result my prison sentence was less.
I spent my sentence in Ofer prison and my parents visited me twice. In prison I studied Arabic but I dropped out of school and my father promised to send me to a vocational school. I was released on 23 October 2017.