«April 2012 “The test of a democracy is how you treat people incarcerated, people in jail, and especially so with minors.” Mark Regev Spokesman ...»
On 8 March 2011, a 15-year-old boy from Beit Ummar is arrested by Israeli soldiers from the family home at 1:00 am.
“At around 1:00 am I woke up to banging on the door,” recalls Sami. “I went out to the living room and saw many soldiers who asked us for our names. They said they wanted to arrest me and my brother, M. The soldiers immediately took me and M. outside without allowing us to say goodbye to the family.
They didn’t allow me to put on a jacket since it was very cold outside. Then they tied my hands behind my back with one set of plastic cords and tightened them up.” Sami reports that the soldiers then made them walk for about an hour, during which time they were kicked in the legs for no reason.
| Bound, Blindfolded and Convicted “About an hour later,” recalls Sami, “we arrived at the settlement of Karmi Zur and the soldiers forced us to sit on the ground. They slapped us. They lifted our shirts and punched us in the chest. One of them punched me so hard in the chest I felt harsh pain. They kept us sitting there for about an hour, during which time they assaulted us. One of them kicked me hard with his boots. It was very cold outside.” About an hour later, the boys were put in the back of a vehicle and transferred to Etzion settlement. According to Sami, they were slapped along the way.
Sami reports that he was interrogated at Etzion about an hour after arrival. “I was taken to an interrogation room to be interrogated by four interrogators. They removed the blindfold and untied me. Two of them introduced themselves as Sharif and Dawoud. They accused me of throwing stones and Molotov cocktails and I denied it. But Dawoud started shouting at me and that made me so scared I confessed to throwing stones only. I was interrogated for about two hours. After that the interrogators ordered me to sign papers written in Hebrew. They said it was my statement. I asked them to explain it to me but they refused and forced me to sign it.” Following the interrogation, Sami was taken outside, where he remained until 7:00 pm.
He was not tied or blindfolded during this period. “At around 7:00 pm, soldiers tied my hands with one set of plastic cords. They did the same to another boy. They put the two of us in one jeep, and the jeep travelled for a short distance. Then they pulled us out and made us walk with them for about half-an-hour until we reached a room and detained us inside. On the way to the room, one of them slapped Ihab three times for no reason. He also tightened up our ties so hard that my hands swelled and I started to scream. Ihab was feeling dizzy and he vomited. I was screaming in pain because of the tight ties. Shortly after that soldiers took us out to another room and untied us. A doctor asked us some general questions. Then they took us back to the first room but without tying us. We fell asleep. They kept us in the room until around 1:00 am when they came and woke us up by pushing us hard. Soldiers tied us with plastic cords and blindfolded us. They then put us in a jeep and transferred us to Ofer prison. They insulted both of us on the way. We arrived at around 2:00 am and were strip searched before being taken to the detention rooms.” On 11 March 2011, a 16-year-old boy from Azzun is arrested by Israeli soldiers and accused of throwing stones.
“At around 6:00 pm I was sitting near the main road connecting Qalqiliya to Nablus near our village with my friend Adam,” recalls As’ad. “Suddenly, a military jeep arrived and stopped in front of us. Two soldiers got out and ordered us to approach them. We approached them and they forced us to sit on the ground near the jeep.” A short time later more jeeps arrived and the boys report being questioned by an officer speaking Arabic. “Then he spoke with a soldier in Hebrew and the soldier tied my hands behind my back with one plastic cord and tightened it up, which was painful. I asked them to loosen it but they refused.
They shouted at me, insulted me and beat me,” recalls As’ad, who was also blindfolded.
Both boys were then placed inside a military jeep. “Some of them kicked me and slapped me several times because I complained about the tight plastic cords,” recalls As’ad. “The jeep travelled to several places unknown to me. At one point, they pulled us out and forced us to sit on the ground. While we were sitting there, one of them kept kicking me hard for no reason. He kicked Adam as well. Many soldiers passed by and they would slap and kick us. They kept us sitting there for a few hours before transferring us to Ari’el police station.” As’ad reports arriving at Ari’el police station at around 10:00 pm and being taken straight for interrogation. “I was interrogated by a man speaking Arabic who accused me of throwing stones. At first I didn’t confess, but he kept shouting and that made me scared, so I decided to confess to throwing stones in the past. He untied me when I confessed to throwing stones about two months ago,” says As’ad. “I was interrogated for about 30 minutes. Then the interrogator ordered me to sign a statement written in Arabic and I did so, but he didn’t allow me to read it. Then he tied my hands again.” After their interrogation, As’ad and Adam were both transferred to Zufin settlement, where they were both asked some general questions about their health by a military doctor. As’ad reports that his blindfold was removed but he remained tied whilst questioned by the doctor. The boys were then transferred to another location, where they were made to stand by the jeep, still tied and blindfolded, for approximately one hour, before being transferred again. “I had a headache,” recalls As’ad, “and I felt dizzy and started vomiting.
The soldiers just insulted me.” At around 7:00 am, the boys were transferred again to another military base. “They made us sit near toilets that smelled horrible,” says As’ad. “It was very cold. It even started raining and our clothes became wet, so they moved us under a metal sunshade. They didn’t allow us to use the bathroom at all. They didn’t provide us | Bound, Blindfolded and Convicted with any water, though we asked several times. They kept us sitting there until the evening. I want to say that they kept us tied for almost 24 hours.” That evening the boys were transferred to Huwwara interrogation centre, near Nablus in the West Bank. Four days later, the boys were transferred to Megiddo prison inside Israel, in violation of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
On 28 March 2011, a 12-year-old boy from Beit Ummar is arrested by Israeli soldiers from his family home at 2:00 am.
“At around 2:00 am I woke up to banging on the door of our house,” recalls Jameel’s father, Ahmad. “I headed to the door and shouted: ‘Who is it?’ I heard someone saying in Arabic: ‘Open up, it’s the Israeli army.’ I opened the door and a soldier pushed me back. Then around 12 soldiers in uniform with their faces covered in black masks stormed the house. They had two big scary dogs.” Once inside, the soldiers immediately deployed around the house. “I stopped them from entering the bedroom because my wife was still inside. I told them they had to wait,” recalls Ahmad. “Then I rushed to the girls’ room after seeing three soldiers entering with a dog. The girls were crying and screaming. The soldiers were looking around while the dog was sniffing the room. The girls were sitting close to each other on the mattress. I calmed them down and told them the dog wouldn’t approach them and that it’s trained to listen to his handler. The dog didn’t approach them and the soldiers didn’t move anything in the room. They just kept looking around. About two minutes later I asked the girls to go out to the hall. They were feeling a little better, but they were struggling in general. Both girls wet themselves because they were very scared.” Ahmad recalls being very tense. “I couldn’t focus on what exactly was going on around me. Then, I noticed that an officer was talking to Jameel in Arabic. He asked Jameel for his name and then told him he was under arrest. Jameel was so shocked he burst into tears and started shivering. It was a shock for us as well. It never occurred to me that they had come to arrest Jameel. ‘Are you serious?’ I asked the officer. ‘Yes, we want Jameel,’ he said. ‘If you want to arrest him, arrest me as well,’ I said. I was very tense and anxious. He | 103 talked to the soldiers in Hebrew and signalled them to take me away. I don’t understand Hebrew. Then four soldiers surrounded me and took me to one of the balconies. ‘We don’t want any trouble,’ one of them said to me in Arabic. I understood they wanted me to stay on the balcony. About two minutes later the officer came to me and said: ‘Stay calm and we’ll take care of the child.’ I had to calm down,” recalls Ahmad, “I mean there was no need to be anxious and worried. They would arrest him anyway no matter what.” Ahmad again asked the officer if he could accompany Jameel but his request was refused.
“After that the soldiers took Jameel and left the house. My wife and I wanted to follow them but they stopped us. They ordered us to go inside the house and close the door. We headed for the balcony and saw them tying Jameel’s hands behind his back with plastic cords. They didn’t blindfold him or beat him and they took him away on foot.” Later on that morning other residents of Beit Ummar told Ahmad that the soldiers had arrested another 13 children and taken them on foot to the nearby settlement of Karmi Zur.
“On the third day of his detention, I spoke to Jameel in the military court,” recalls Ahmad.
“He told me that the soldiers had kept him and the other children sitting on the ground in the settlement all night, before being transferred to Etzion interrogation centre.” Jameel was later charged with throwing stones at settler cars based on the confessional evidence of the other children.
On 18 May 2011, a 14-year-old boy from Azzun village is arrested by Israeli soldiers from the family home at 2:00 am, and accused of throwing stones.
“At around 2:00 am I was sleeping when I woke up to soldiers banging on our door and throwing stones at it as well,” says Ihab. “‘Open the door and come out,’ they were shouting. I immediately realised they had come to arrest me because they have already arrested me twice before, but released me shortly afterwards.” Ihab’s father opened the door and the family was ordered to sit in the garden whilst the house was searched. After about 20 minutes, the family was ordered inside and asked for their names. “When I told him my name, he said: ‘We’ll take you with us.’ Immediately after that he tied my hands behind my back with one set of plastic cords and tightened them. He also blindfolded me. He did this in the living room in front of my family,” recalls Ihab.
| Bound, Blindfolded and Convicted Ihab was then led out of the house and placed inside a military vehicle and taken to an unknown location. “When we arrived, the soldiers pulled me out of the jeep and made me sit nearby for one-and-a-half hours, during which time I was taken to a clinic. I want to say that while I was sitting there, I asked the soldiers to allow me to use the bathroom but they refused. I only used the bathroom after my interrogation at around noon,” says Ihab.
Sometime later, Ihab was placed in a truck and transferred to Ari’el settlement. “When we arrived, I was taken to an interrogation room and questioned by two interrogators.
The tall, thin interrogator started by shouting and threatening me: ‘You better confess to throwing stones,’ he said, and I immediately denied it. He then punched me in the stomach and that really hurt me very much. He then started slapping me hard across the face. I was still tied with my hands behind my back but he removed the blindfold,” recalls Ihab. “After that, the tall thin interrogator tightened the plastic cords and I felt the blood had stopped flowing. I felt he wanted to paralyse me. I begged him to loosen the cords, but he said he would do it only if I confessed to throwing stones. ‘I didn’t throw stones,’ I said, but he started shouting at me and slapping me across the face very hard and in an insane manner. That scared me very much and I had to confess. ‘I want to confess,’ I said to him. I just wanted him to stop beating me. At that moment the other interrogator started interrogating me and he took my statement in Arabic. I confessed to throwing stones at settler cars. He finished writing the statement and forced me to sign it without reading it to me. I didn’t know what he wrote,” says Ihab.
A short time later, Ihab was placed in a truck and taken to Ofer prison, near Ramallah. “We arrived around noon,” recalls Ihab. “They detained me in a room outside the prison with the others. It was a metal open room and exposed to the sun. It was very hot inside. They kept me inside the room until around 10:00 pm before they took me inside the prison. I was then strip searched.” The following day, Ihab was transferred to Megiddo prison inside Israel, in violation of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
On 18 May 2011, a 15-year-old boy from Azzun village is arrested by Israeli soldiers from the family home at 2:00 am, and accused of throwing stones.
father. We came out of the house and I saw so many soldiers and became very scared.
A soldier asked me for my ID and I gave him my birth certificate. Immediately, a soldier grabbed me without telling my father where they would take me.” The soldiers led Thaer away towards a military vehicle. “One of them tied my hands behind my back with one set of plastic cords and blindfolded me. The ties were very tight and hurt my hands. Then one of them grabbed me hard and pushed me inside a military truck. I fell on the metal floor and that hurt. They kept me sitting on the floor and didn’t allow me to sit on the seats. I heard so many soldiers talking around me. One of them insulted me and said: ‘Your mother’s a cunt, you motherfucker.’” The truck travelled a short distance to the nearby settlement of Zufin. “When we arrived, they pulled me out and forced me to sit on the ground. While I was sitting there, one of them approached me and started beating me for no reason. He punched and slapped me several times, while shouting in Hebrew. I didn’t understand what he was saying. I think he hit me like seven times at least.” After being taken to a clinic and asked some brief medical questions, Thaer was left tied and blindfolded outside and was not permitted to use the toilet.