Children Arrested–Report and Testimonies

Military Court Watch, an organization in Israel, has just released a 65-page progress report reviewing developments in the treatment of minors held in Israeli military detention:

The full report is available online as a pdf file, at the following address:

MCW Progress Report (15 April 2015)

Reproduced from the report, below, is the testimony of a 14-year old boy.

Testimony 10
Name: W.T.A.
Age: 14
Date of incident: 17 November 2014
Location: Beit Ummar, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones/Molotov cocktails
On 17 November 2014, a 14-year-old boy from Beit Ummar, in the West Bank, is arrested by Israeli soldiers and accused of throwing stones and Molotov cocktails.
“I was arrested on the main road at around 4:30 p.m. I was with my friends and there were no clashes in the area at the time. Suddenly Israeli soldiers appeared and arrested me together with my two friends. I was immediately tied to the front with one plastic tie which was painful. They did not beat me or swear at me. I was then put in the back of a jeep where I sat on the metal floor. I was kept inside the jeep by the entrance to the village for about an hour. The jeep then drove towards an area overlooking the Al Arrub refugee camp. The soldiers pulled me out of the jeep and made me sit on a rock for another hour. I was very uncomfortable. One of the soldiers approached me and started to ask me some questions in Arabic. He asked me why I was throwing stones near the main road. I told him I wasn’t throwing stones at anyone. The soldier then put me back on the metal floor inside the jeep.”
“The jeep drove away for about 10 minutes and then stopped at the nearby settlement of Karmi Zur. I was taken out of the jeep and made me sit on the ground for about 30 minutes. I was then put inside a shipping container where there were lots of soldiers. I was blindfolded and the soldiers started to slap me and to kick me while laughing. They also swore at me and called my mother a whore. I was then put back on the floor of a jeep. The jeep drove for about 30 minutes before stopping. I was taken into a room and told by a policeman that I was in the police station in the settlement of Kiryat Arba. I remained in the room until around 11:30 p.m. when an interrogator came to question me.”
“The interrogator cut off the plastic tie and removed the blindfold and immediately started to interrogate me. He told me his name was Ben Lulu. He told me my father was waiting outside the police station and as soon as I confess to throwing stones he was going to send me home with my father. I told him I didn’t throw stones at anyone so how could I confess to something I didn’t do. He did not inform me of my rights. There was a camera and a tape recorder in the room. The interrogator did not beat me or threaten me but he swore at me. He kept telling me I was an asshole. The interrogator repeated the accusation and told me I was accused of throwing stones and of throwing a Molotov cocktail. I told him this was not true. He told me that he had interrogated my friends and that they had confessed against me. I asked him to confront me with my friends. When he brought one of the boys into the room the boy completely denied ever having
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confessed against me. The interrogator got very angry and started to shout saying: ‘yes, this boy knows you and he confessed against you’.”
“The interrogator left the room with the other boy and left me alone with a soldier. Thirty minutes later the interrogator came back. He turned the chair I was sitting on towards the wall and left me there for about half-an-hour. I was facing the wall. Then he started to interrogate me again. He told me to confess. When I asked him what he wanted me to confess to and said he wanted me to confess to throwing stones and throwing a Molotov cocktail. I told him this was not true. The interrogator then printed out my statement in Hebrew and asked me to sign it. I refused to sign it because I couldn’t understand what was written in it. He then told me there were soldiers waiting outside and that they were going to come and beat me up if I didn’t sign the statement. I then agreed to sign it because I was scared of being beaten up.”
“Another policeman took me to be photographed and fingerprinted. He returned me to the room when he was done. I remained at Kiryat Arba police station until around 2:00 a.m. I wasn’t given any food but I was allowed to use the bathroom and I was given some water.”
“At around 2:00 a.m. I was handcuffed and blindfolded and put on the floor of another jeep. The jeep drove for about 30 minutes before it stopped at the police station in the settlement of Etzion. On arrival I was strip searched and then put back in the vehicle for some reason. I remained in the vehicle until around 7:00 a.m. I was sitting in the back on a seat. When I tried to fall asleep a soldier would come and wake me up preventing me from sleeping. At one point I did fall asleep but a soldier took me out of the vehicle and made me sit outside on the gravel for about 30 minutes and then he put me back into the vehicle. I wasn’t given any food.”
“At around 8:00 a.m. I was taken to a prison cell where I slept for about an hour before the soldiers brought me some food. I was then shackled and driven to Ofer prison, near Ramallah. On arrival at Ofer I was put in another vehicle and told I was being taken to the military court. I remained in the vehicle until 6:00 p.m. but was never taken to the military court. During this time I wasn’t given any food or drink and I didn’t use the bathroom. At around 6:00 p.m. I was taken out of the vehicle and strip searched. I was then given prison clothes and taken to Section 13 where I stayed with other prisoners my age.”
“The following morning I was taken to the military court. A lawyer was there and so was my father. The hearing was adjourned. I had another military court hearing with my lawyer and my parents present and it was adjourned too. On the third military court hearing I was told the hearing was adjourned until 8 December. On 4 December, in the afternoon, a soldier came to tell me I was going to be released together with my other two friends who were arrested with me. I went home with my father on the same day and my father told me I was released without charge.”

seeking peace with justice for all of our Middle Eastern neighbors ________________________________________ chairs: Linda Bergh – _________________________________ Leah Mae Carlisle – __________________________ Karen Peterson –