|Date:||19 June 2020|
|Location:||Qalqiliya, West Bank|
On 19 June 2020, a 15-year-old minor from Qalqiliya was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:00 p.m. outside his father’s nursery. He reports being questioned before being informed of his right to silence and his right to consult with a lawyer.
I was at my father’s nursery when an Israeli military jeep came through the gate and stopped right in front of me. It was around 2:00 p.m. There were no clashes at the time but that did not stop the soldiers from firing rubber bullets and stun grenades. Two soldiers got out of the jeep, grabbed me and threw me on into the back of the jeep where I lay on the metal floor. I was in total shock as I was not doing anything wrong.
Inside the jeep a soldier asked me about some other boy and I told him I had no idea which boys he was talking about. The jeep drove for about 15 minutes to a gate in the Wall where I was blindfolded and my hands tied to the front with one plastic tie. The tie was not tight.
Then I was taken out of the jeep and made to sit by a military watchtower. An angry soldier started to ask me questions without informing me of my rights. He questioned me for about 30 minutes and accused me of throwing stones. He also wanted me to give him the names of other boys. I denied the accusation.
Then another jeep arrived which I was taken to – this time I sat on a seat. I was then taken to a nearby military base where I was left in an outdoor area for about 30 minutes surrounded by soldiers.
After about 30 minutes I was taken to a shipping container where I was examined by a doctor. The doctor removed the blindfold during the examination. Then I was taken to Ariel settlement. I arrived there at around 3:00 a.m. I was taken to a room where I waited for about three hours and then I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator removed the blindfold but kept me tied. Before asking me any questions he told me I had the right to speak to a lawyer. He read this out from a document. I cannot remember if he said anything about the right to silence as he read fast. He gave me the document to sign and I did. It was written in Arabic and Hebrew. Then he gave me a list of lawyers with their phone numbers. I told him I wanted my father to select a lawyer from me and he allowed me to phone my father. The interrogator started to question me after I spoke to my father before I had spoken to a lawyer.
The interrogator accused me of throwing stones at soldiers and claimed I had confessed to the soldiers who arrested me. I denied the accusation and told the interrogator I was at my father’s nursery and I was arrested from there for no reason other than I was the first boy the soldiers had seen. The interrogator was calm and spoke to me through an interpreter who spoke very good Arabic. The interrogation lasted for about 30 minutes. I denied the accusation and insisted I was innocent. I was not given any documents to sign after the interrogation.
After the interrogation I was taken to another room where I was fingerprinted and photographed. Then I was put in a shipping container where I slept for about three or four hours. I was woken up by soldiers nearby who were laughing ,chatting and slamming doors.
At around 10:00 a.m. I was taken to Megiddo prison inside Israel. At Megiddo I was strip searched but the metal detecting machine went off. The soldiers asked me whether I had surgery and I told them I had when I was young. Then the soldiers decided to take me to the hospital for an X-Ray to see what it was that triggered the metal detector.
I was taken to a hospital inside Israel where they took an X-Ray and the Israeli doctor told the soldiers he could only see a scar from the hernia surgery I had had when I was young. At the hospital I was tied and shackled the whole time.
Then I was taken back to Megiddo prison where I was kept is a separate quarantine section where all the recent detainees were kept because of the Corona virus regulations.
The following day I had a military court hearing via video link. I could see the military judge on the screen but I could not see a lawyer. My parents did not attend and the hearing was adjourned.
A few days later I had another hearing which my father attended via video link and I could see him and I spoke to him. I had four hearings and at the last one the judge told me he was willing to accept a plea bargain where I would plead guilty to throwing stones, setting fire to tires and cutting barbed wire and in return I would go home. Otherwise I would have to spend two months in prison. I told the judge I did not do anything wrong and explained I did not see any reason for me to plead guilty. Then my father intervened and told me my mother missed me badly and wanted me home and that I should accept the plea bargain for my mother’s sake. I accepted to plead guilty to throwing stones but not to burning tires or cutting barbed wire.
There was a lot of talking in the court room but in the end I was told I was going to go home with my father after the hearing. I was also told my father had to pay a fine of NIS 2,000 and that I had a suspended sentence of six months in prison valid for a year.
I was released on 29 June 2020 in the afternoon at Al-Jalama checkpoint and I went home with my father. We arrived home in the evening.