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Testimony: A.R.A.H.


Name: A.R.A.H.
Age: 14
Date: 22 May 2020
Location: Nablus, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones / Pipe bombs

On 22 May 2020, a 14-year-old minor from Nablus was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 3.30 p.m. He reports not being informed of his right to silence or consulting with a lawyer prior to interrogation as required under Israeli military law.

I was with my friend near the settlement of Itamar at around 3:30 p.m. All of a sudden Israeli soldiers arrived and started to chase me and my friend. I ran as fast as I could but when I turned to see what had happened to my friend a soldier grabbed me and threw me to the ground. He fired two bullets in the air which terrified me. I thought I was going to die. 
The soldier stepped on my back holding me in position until the other soldiers arrived. While waiting he showed me some photos of boys on his mobile phone and asked me whether I was with those boys when they were throwing stones a couple of days ago. I told him I had nothing to do with the boys and that I had come to the hill for a walk with my friend. The soldier did not believe me and slapped and swore at me. He also cocked his gun and aimed it at me. I was terrified. I told him I was thirsty and wanted some water but he just pushed me onto some thorny bushes.
When the other soldiers arrived they tied my hands behind my back with one plastic tie which was very tight and painful. Then I was blindfolded and taken to the back of a jeep where sat on a seat. On the way the soldiers made fun of me. The jeep drove to Huwwara military base where I was left in an outdoor area for about eight hours. During this time a doctor examined me and asked me whether I had the Corona Virus. Then he searched me with my clothes on.  
At around midnight I was taken to the police station in Ariel settlement where I was shackled before being taken for interrogation. The interrogator was in civilian clothes. He removed the blindfold and told me I was a terrorist and accused me of throwing pipe bombs at soldiers. I denied the accusation and told him I had no idea where he got his information from. Then he told me if I wanted to understand how the interrogation would be conducted I could call a lawyer. I told him I did not know any lawyers. He did not help me call a lawyer. Then he continued to question me without informing me of my right to silent. 
He repeated the accusation again and when I denied it he became angry and accused me of lying. He repeated the same accusation again and this time I decided to remain silent. I knew about the right to silence from a training I had attended. The interrogator was very upset when I did not answer him and he swore at me and called my sister and mother “whores”. I was very upset when he swore at me and I was burning inside but I held up and did not respond to him. Then he threatened to cancel my family’s work permit if I did not confess. He also threatened to arrest my father from his workplace inside Israel.
Then he accused me of throwing stones near Joseph’s tomb in Nablus and showed me a photograph of me holding a plastic toy gun. I denied the accusation and told him I lived very far away from Joseph’s Tomb. Then he named some boys and asked me whether I knew them and I told him I did not. 
He questioned me for about an hour and I continued to deny all the accusations. Then he showed me documents in Hebrew and asked me to sign them after translating them for me. I signed when I realised the document was identical to what I had said. 
After the interrogation I was taken to a cell where I remained until the early hours of the evening. I was given some stale bread to eat. Then I was taken to Huwwara military base where I was searched in my underwear. I remained at Huwwara for 10 days. During this time I had a military court hearing via video link. The hearing was adjourned. At the second hearing, also via video link, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to time served and a fine of NIS 1,200. My uncle attended the hearing and he accepted the plea bargain and paid the money.
I was released on 1 June 2020 after the hearing. I took a car which dropped me off on the main road where my parents, and brothers and cousins and some friends were waiting for me. I arrived home at around 4:00 p.m.