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Home » Children »

Testimony: S.M.S.S.

 

Name: S.M.S.S.
Age: 17
Date: 5 August 2020
Location: Hebron, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones

On 5 August 2020, a 17-year-old minor from Hebron was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 1:30 a.m. He reports being interrogated without first being informed of his right to consult with a lawyer or his right to silence. 

I was arrested from home at around 1:30 a.m. I was in bed and I woke up when six Israeli soldiers entered my bedroom. They searched the house and then asked me for my name and age. They searched my wardrobe looking for a certain shirt and trousers to match the ones in a photo they had. They did not show me the photo. They told me I was under arrest but they did not tell us why or produce any documents. When my father asked why I was being arrested the commander said I was a "trouble maker".

They remained inside our home for about 30 minutes and then they took me outside where I was handcuffed - my right hand to the left hand of a soldier. The soldiers then led me to the nearby military checkpoint. At the checkpoint they handcuffed my hands to the front with metal handcuffs which were not painful. They also covered my eyes with a mask. I was then taken to the back of a military jeep where my legs were shackled and I was made to sit on the metal floor between the soldiers' feet. The soldiers were making fun of me. 
 
On the way we stopped and a doctor examined me. He removed the handcuffs and the shackles during the examination. Then they took me into a nearby settlement where I was left in a room until around noon. Then I was taken for interrogation.
 
As soon as I entered the interrogation room the interrogator accused me of throwing stones at soldiers. I denied the accusation. Then he showed me photographs of clashes and accused me of taking part. At first I denied the accusation but then I confessed because he pressured me and told me the evidence against me was very strong. He wanted to know who incited me into acts of violence and who paid me. I told him no one incited me. He did not inform me of my right to silence and did not allow me to speak to a lawyer. 
 
At the end of the interrogation he showed me documents in Hebrew and asked me to sign them but I refused to sign. Then the interrogator phoned a lawyer and told him I had a court hearing the following day. I did not speak to the lawyer. He questioned me for about two hours.
 
After the interrogation I was taken to Huwwara military base where I was searched in my boxer shorts. I spent 16 days at Huwwara. During this time I had three military court hearings by video link which my mother attended. After 16 days I was taken to Megiddo prison, inside Israel, where I was strip searched. I spent 14 days in the quarantine section and then I was taken to Ofer prison. 
 
I had eight military court hearings and at the last one, which was on 19 October 2020, I was sentenced in a plea bargain to four months in prison and fined NIS 2,000. My family could not pay the fine. I was also given a further one year in prison suspended for five years. I accepted the plea bargain because it looked good to me except for the long suspended sentence.
 
In prison I exercised and attended classes in Arabic, Hebrew and Mathematics and I watched television. I had one family visit which was cancelled at the last minute because I had to appear in court for an early release consideration. 
 
I was released at Ofer checkpoint on 24 November 2020 and I went home with my mother and brothers and one of my friends. I arrived home in the evening. 
 
This testimony was produced with the financial support of the German Federal Foreign Office. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Military Court Watch.