«April 2012 “The test of a democracy is how you treat people incarcerated, people in jail, and especially so with minors.” Mark Regev Spokesman ...»
“My father and uncle followed us but the soldiers kept shouting at them and pointing their weapons at them and ordering them to go back,” recalls Rashad. “We kept walking until we reached two military jeeps and a troop carrier. They then tied my hands with one plastic cord and tightened it up. They also blindfolded me with a piece of cloth.” Rashad was then helped into one of the jeeps.
| 111 Rashad estimates that the jeep traveled for around an hour before it stopped and he was taken out of the vehicle. He was then given a cursory medical check whilst still tied. Rashad estimates that he remained at this site for about two hours before being placed back in the jeep for another hour. On arrival at a second location, Rashad was taken out of the jeep. “They kept me tied and blindfolded. My hands hurt because of the ties,” he recalls.
Sometime later Rashad recalls being interrogated whilst still tied. “The interrogator accused me of throwing stones at a settler car and I strongly denied it. ‘You’re a liar,’ he said.
‘No I’m not. Check your sources,’ I said. ‘Every dog has his day,’ he said as he took me out of the room.” Rashad then sat in a corridor before being interrogated for a second time.
“A man took me to another room and removed the blindfold,” recalls Rashad. “He was wearing a light blue uniform. ‘Did you throw stones at Israeli cars near your village?’ he asked in Arabic and I denied it […] A short time later the blindfold was removed and the ties were cut off. He took me to another room and took all my fingerprints. He also forced me to sign a paper written in Hebrew.” Rashad was then released into the custody of his father – it was 4:00 pm. Rashad was not provided with anything to eat or drink during his detention.
On 21 November 2011, a 16-year-old boy from Haris village is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 4:00 am, and held for 12 days in solitary confinement at Al Jalame interrogation centre, inside Israel.
“At around 4:00 am, the Israeli army came to our house and took my father hostage until I turned myself in. I was not at home that night,” says 16-year-old Wadda’. “They took him to a place in the village and forced him to call me and tell me to turn myself in. He told me that they would not release him unless I turned myself in.” Wadda’ went to the designated area in the village and turned himself in to the soldiers as arranged. “I approached the soldiers and they searched me and one of them grabbed me and dragged me to a military vehicle where my father was standing […] Soldiers tied my hands behind my back with one plastic cord and tightened it so hard that I still feel pain in my right thumb which sometimes goes numb. I shouted because of the pain but they shouted back in Hebrew and I did not understand what they were saying. Then they blindfolded me,” says Wadda’.
Wadda’ was then put in the back of a military vehicle where he remained for about four hours. At some point he was taken out of the vehicle and given a cursory medical check | Bound, Blindfolded and Convicted by a military doctor whilst still tied. He was then placed back in the military vehicle which parked outside Huwwara interrogation centre until around 3:00 pm. At around 3:00 pm, Wadda’ was transferred to another vehicle and taken to Al Jalame interrogation centre, inside Israel. During this entire time, Wadda’ was not given anything to eat or drink, and was not permitted to use the toilet. Wadda’ reports arriving at Al Jalame at around 7:00 pm and being strip searched on arrival. He was permitted to use the toilet for the first time since his arrest and was then taken for interrogation.
“An intelligence officer was already in the interrogation room,” recalls Wadda’. “He told me his name but I forget it. There was a low metal chair tied to the floor in the middle of the room and he tied me to it. He gave me a piece of paper and ordered me to read it and sign it. He told me it contained my rights, but I did not read or sign it. The interrogator accused me of throwing Molotov cocktails, but I denied it, and he accused me of lying to him. ‘Let’s not waste each other’s time because eventually you’ll confess,’ he shouted. But I did not confess at all on day one. At around 9:00 pm he untied me and locked me in Cell No. 36.” Wadda’ describes Cell No. 36 as follows: “The cell was very small and had a toilet, a sink and two concrete chairs. The walls were rough and in the ceiling there were two yellow lights that hurt my eyes. It had no windows, just gaps to let the air in and out. The air inside the cell was very cold.” Wadda’ recalls that he was taken back to the interrogation room the following morning at 8:00 am. “The interrogator tied me to the same chair and questioned me until noon. He kept shouting to intimidate me and force me to confess. At around noon, I was taken back to the cell for a while to eat, before I was taken back to the interrogation room where I was questioned until around 5:00 pm. I was then given a half-an-hour break before being interrogated again until around 9:00 pm.” The following day Wadda’ was taken before a military court judge who extended his detention for eight days.
Wadda’ reports being detained at Al Jalame for 15 days, of which 12 days were spent in solitary confinement. “I decided to confess,” says Wadda’, “because I could not take it anymore. I got fed up with the interrogation and detention.” On or about 4 December 2011, Wadda’ was transferred to Megiddo prison, inside Israel, where he is detained in violation of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits transfers out of occupied territory.
| 113 On 1 January 2012, a 15-year-old boy from Azzun village is arrested by Israeli soldiers from his family home at 3:00 am and is held for six days in solitary confinement at the Al Jalame interrogation centre.
“On 1 January 2012, at around 3:00 am, I was awake when I heard noises outside,” recalls Mahmoud. “I looked out the window and saw many military jeeps and soldiers walking towards the house. I realised they had come to arrest me because they had already arrested two of my friends.” Mahmoud started changing his clothes quickly, but before he had finished, “the soldiers broke down the door with hammers. They didn’t even knock,” he says.
The soldiers stormed the house, and one of them grabbed Mahmoud by the arm and took him outside. “They tied my hands behind my back with a single plastic cord and tightened it up so hard I still have the marks around my wrists,” he reports. The soldiers then ordered Mahmoud’s brother, Ahmad, to come out of the house. Once he came out, “they started beating him very hard for no reason in front of my family, terrifying them.” After around two hours, Mahmoud was taken to a jeep and made to sit on the metal floor.
Ahmad was left behind. “The jeep started travelling,” he recalls. “I was surrounded by soldiers who stepped on my head and kept shouting at me.” Mahmoud was taken first to the settlement of Zufin, and then to Huwwara interrogation and detention centre near Nablus. There, he was left waiting on the metal floor of the jeep for hours. “In the afternoon,” he continues, “members of the Nihshon unit came to take me away. They handcuffed me from the front, shackled my feet, and transferred me to the Al Jalame interrogation centre.” At Al Jalame, Mahmoud was allowed to use the toilet for the first time since he was arrested. Then, he was placed in solitary confinement. “I was strip searched and detained in cell 30. The cell was very small and had a mattress on the floor. The toilet had a horrible smell. The cell had no windows, except some gaps for ventilation. I was given food through a gap in the door.” Two days later, Mahmoud was taken for interrogation. He recalls: “The interrogator was called ‘Oz’ and spoke fluent Arabic. He made me sit on a chair and accused me of opening fire at soldiers and Israeli vehicles, as well as throwing Molotov cocktails and stones at Israeli cars travelling on the road near the village. I denied all that. ‘Denying it won’t do you any good because your friends have already confessed,’ Oz said, but I insisted on denying the accusations. The following day I was taken back to interrogation, and this time I decided to confess because I wanted to get out of that cell and end the solitary confinement, and because my friends had already confessed. I was | Bound, Blindfolded and Convicted interrogated several times and asked the same questions. They never explained to me my rights,” Mahmoud says.
Mahmoud was held in solitary confinement at Al Jalame for six days. On 16 January, he was transferred to Megiddo prison inside Israel. The transfer of Mahmoud out of the West Bank to Al Jalame was in violation of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits transfers out of occupied territory.
On 9 January 2012, a 17-year-old boy from Haris village is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:00 am and accused of throwing stones.
“At around 2:00 am, I was sleeping when I woke up to a noise in my room,” says 17-year-old ‘Ala.
“I opened my eyes and saw many soldiers surrounding me. Apparenlty they had broken down the door to our apartment. ‘Where’s ‘Ala’ they were shouting. I answered them while I was still getting out of bed. ‘Get up,’ one of them shouted and ordered me to lift my shirt to make sure I was not hiding anything. Then he pushed me hard against the wall while shouting at me and tied my hands behind my back with a single plastic cord and tightened it up so hard I shouted and asked him to loosen it a little, but he shouted Photo credit: Sylvie le Clezio back and ordered me to shut up. He even tightened it up harder.” ‘Ala was then blindfolded and taken outside. He was not permitted to put on warm clothes and he recalls that it was cold outside. ‘Ala remained outside for about 30 minutes and was then questioned by a man in civilian clothes who introduced himself as “Hafer”. The man removed ‘Ala’s blindfold. “‘Why are you causing trouble?’ he asked. ‘I haven’t done anything,’ I said. ‘Liar. I’ve encountered many like you; say they didn’t do anything at first, then come clean during interrogation. So it’s better you confess.’ He shouted and ordered my father to approach him. He told my father that they would arrest me and release me if it turned out that I hadn’t done anything. But he did not tell my father where they would take me,” recalls ‘Ala.
| 115 ‘Ala was then placed on the metal floor of a military vehicle, tied and blindfolded, for about one hour. ‘Ala recalls that soldiers kept shouting at him until they arrived at an unknown location. ‘Ala was taken out of the vehicle and he was taken to see a doctor.
His blindfold and ties were removed and he was asked some general health questions.
‘Ala asked the doctor for some water, but his request was refused. About 30 minutes later ‘Ala was re-tied and blindfolded and placed back in the vehicle, this time on a seat. The vehicle traveled for approximately three hours and stopped at a number of locations, before arriving at the settlement of Gush Etzion. ‘Ala was taken out of the vehicle and made to stand outside in the cold for about 30 minutes. ‘Ala was then placed in another vehicle and transferred to the settlement of Zufin, before being transferred to Megiddo prison, inside Israel. ‘Ala’s transfer into Israel was in violation of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which prohibits such transfers. ‘Ala arrived at Megiddo prison at around 5:00 pm, having been tied and blindfolded for nearly 15 hours. ‘Ala was strip searched and says this made him feel humiliated.
The next day, ‘Ala was transferred back into the West Bank to the Salem interrogation centre. He was interrogated by a man called “Hashem” and his hands and feet remained shackled throughout his questioning. ‘Ala reports being interrogated for about three hours and was accused of throwing stones, which he denies. ‘Ala reports that he first appeared before a military court accused of throwing stones on 15 January, and was remanded in custody.
On 18 January 2012, a 16-year-old boy from Beit Ummar is detained by Israeli soldiers at around 3:00 am before being released.
“At around 2:55 am, I woke up to the sound of stun grenades and laser sights focused on my window,” recalls Khader. “I could hear soldiers shouting through loudspeakers: ‘It’s the IDF, get out.” Khader’s house is located in Beit Ummar, about 50 metres from the main road between Bethlehem and Hebron, used by the Israeli army and settlers. “I also heard a soldier calling us through a loudspeaker to come out or they would blow-up the house,” says Khader.
Khader and his 18-year-old brother exited the house with their hands in the air. “We climbed down the stairs to the yard outside the house, and around eight soldiers surrounded us and others were surrounding the house. I saw around seven military jeeps.