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«April 2012 “The test of a democracy is how you treat people incarcerated, people in jail, and especially so with minors.” Mark Regev Spokesman ...»

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Over the course of the next week, Karam was taken to Ofer Military Court on three separate occasions before being released on a surety of 2,000 shekels (US $500) on 28 September 2010. Karam’s father says the court also imposed an additional condition of “putting Karam under home arrest at his uncle’s house, which is about 100 metres away from our house and further away from the road used by the settlers. Karam is not allowed to go to school during the home arrest.” Karam says the ruling is “very tough and I don’t know whether I will be able to handle it. I don’t know how I can be away from my house. I won’t pass the semester. I won’t be able to go to the store or my friend’s house. I’m very upset because of this. My family is very upset as well.” The military court ordered that Karam remain under home arrest at his uncle’s house until further notice.

On 11 January 2011, a 16-year-old boy from Tulkarm, is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:30 am.

“At around 2:30 am, I was sleeping when I woke up to a noise outside the house,” recalls 16-year-old Mohammad. “A short time later I heard the door opening and soldiers stormed our apartment. Even before I got out of bed, soldiers entered my bedroom and surrounded me. One of the soldiers grabbed me by my shirt and lifted me. He asked for my name and ID number. After examining my ID he ordered me to get dressed because they would be taking me, but he didn’t tell me why.” Mohammad reports that whilst this was going on, Ibrahim, his 21-yearold brother was being beaten by soldiers.

| 95 Mohammad got dressed and his hands were then tied behind his back before being made to sit in the living room. “Meanwhile, my mother tried to come out of the kitchen and approach me, but the soldiers shouted at her and didn’t allow her to move,” recalls Mohammad. “The soldiers then started to tear down pictures of my relatives hanging on the wall and I asked them to stop, but they shouted at me and ordered me to ‘shut-up’.” Mohammad reports that the soldiers confiscated a computer and also took down a Palestinian flag. About 30 minutes later, Mohammad was blindfolded and taken out of the house to a waiting military vehicle. “I think it was a military truck,” says Mohammad, “because they made me climb up a small ladder and forced me to sit on the metal floor. That caused me harsh pain because I have problems with my left leg. I told them about my leg but they ordered me to ‘shut-up,’” says Mohammad. During his transfer, Mohammad says that he was insulted and verbally abused by the soldiers who were laughing loudly: “‘Your mother’s a cunt, you son of a whore’ they said to me.” Mohammad reports that the truck travelled for about 20 minutes before stopping. “Soldiers pulled me out and made me sit on the ground in the cold weather […] for about an hour.” Once the sun came up, Mohammad was put in a military jeep and taken to Huwwara interrogation centre, near the city of Nablus, in the West Bank. Mohammad estimates that they arrived at Huwwara at around 11:00 am, and after being strip searched, he was able to drink some water and use the toilet for the first time since his arrest. In the afternoon, Mohammad was tied and blindfolded and transferred to Al Jalame interrogation centre, inside Israel. Mohammad’s transfer out of occupied territory was in violation of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which prohibits such transfers.

“We arrived at Al Jalame late at night,” recalls Mohammad. He was then photographed and asked some general questions about his health. “Immediately after that they took me to an interrogation room to spend about 10 minutes with a man who spoke fluent Arabic.

He told me that another interrogator would interrogate me the following day and that I should cooperate with him. I was then detained in Cell No. 37 which was small, measuring about 2x1 metres with two dim lights in the ceiling. There was an air conditioner which would switch from cold to hot air every five minutes, for 24 hours. I had to sleep on the floor until the morning because there was no mattress or blanket. It was very cold. They brought me a mattress and a blanket in the morning. They detained me in that cell for two weeks then moved me to Cell No. 38, which was similar to Cell 37,” recalls Mohammad.

“On the second day of my detention, I was taken to an interrogation room and an interrogator named “Amous” was waiting for me. He interrogated me for four hours at least. He made me sit on a low metal chair tied to the floor, and tied my hand to the chair. Amous interrogated me almost every day for two to three hours in the same manner. I didn’t confess at first, but then couldn’t handle the pressure and the harsh interrogation, so I had to confess to trying to join Islamic Jihad. I got tired of life and wanted to be arrested and put in prison,” says Mohammad.

Mohammad reports that on 8 February 2011, he was transferred from Al Jalame interrogation centre, to Megiddo prison, also inside Israel. On 13 February, Mohammad was charged with attempting to join a banned organisation. On 24 February 2011, Salem military court released Mohammad on bail of NIS 7,500 and on 3 April 2011, he pleaded guilty. Mohammad was sentenced by military court to 45 days in prison (time already served), an additional three month suspended sentence, and a fine of NIS 2,000.

| Bound, Blindfolded and Convicted On 28 January 2011, a 16-year-old boy from Azzun village is arrested by Israeli soldiers from his family home and accused of throwing stones.

“At around 11:30 am I was on my way home from our land near the village, when I was surprised to see two soldiers rushing towards me,” recalls Moawia. “They grabbed me and dragged me away without saying anything. One of them beat me and pushed me against an electricity pole causing me harsh pain. He also kept pressing down on my hand and slapped me across the face whenever I asked him to stop.” The soldiers accused Moawia of throwing stones at Israeli settler cars travelling near his village. “I denied it immediately,” says Moawia, “but he started shouting at me and insulting me: ‘Your sister’s a cunt,’ he said. ‘Don’t say that,’ I said, but he kicked me hard in the legs and made me sit on the ground for about five minutes until three military jeeps arrived.” Moawia’s hands were then twisted behind his back and he was tied with plastic cords, before being placed inside one of the vehicles. Whilst inside the vehicle, Moawia reports becoming scared and so decided to confess. He was then blindfolded and transferred to the settlement of Zufin, close to his village. Following a brief medical check, Moawia was then transferred to Ari’el settlement. “When we arrived they took me to an interrogation room and forced me to sit in a chair. They untied me and removed the blindfold. I was then interrogated by a person speaking Arabic who kept shouting at me and insulting me by saying: ‘Your sister’s a cunt.’ He pushed me several times and wanted to knock me down even though I had already confessed to the accusations against me. He interrogated me for about three hours, during which time I confessed to throwing stones at Israeli cars travelling on the main road near my village.” Following his interrogation, Moawia was transferred to Huwwara Interrogation Centre and strip searched. Five days later, Moawia reports being taken back to Ari’el settlement and interrogated again and accused of throwing Molotov cocktails, which he denied.

Moawia recalls that the interrogator’s name was Issa. “Issa started kicking me hard and slapping me,” recalls Moawia. “Then he forced me to stand against the wall on one leg with my hands in the air. He kept me like this for 20 minutes and whenever I lowered my leg he would shout at me. I felt harsh pain in my leg. Despite this, I didn’t confess. ‘I won’t confess to something I didn’t do even if you shoot me,’ I said to him, and he started shouting at me and beating me on the neck.” Moawia reports being interrogated by Issa again the next day in a similar manner.

| 97 On 10 February 2011, a military court denied Moawia bail, and shortly afterwards he was transferred to Megiddo prison inside Israel, in violation of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

On 18 February 2011, a nine-year-old boy from Beit Ummar, is arrested by Israeli soldiers and taken to the settlements of Kirya Arba and Gush Etzion.

“I live in Beit Ummar, about 70 metres away from the main road that connects Bethlehem with Hebron,” says Mahmoud.

“Settler cars as well as Palestinian cars travel on that road, day and night, which means that Israeli military jeeps are always around to protect the settlers. That is what I’ve been seeing since I became aware of things around me and the circumstances in the village where I live.” On Friday, 18 February 2011, Mahmoud, his 15-year-old brother and their 13-year-old cousin were playing in front of their house at around 1:00 pm. Mahmoud recalls that four Israeli soldiers suddenly came running towards them shouting “stop, stop,” in Arabic.

“We became very scared and ran to our uncle’s house, about 30 metres away from our house,” recalls Mahmoud. Their cousin managed to run inside the house, but the soldiers grabbed Mahmoud and his brother. Soon afterwards, two of the boys’ uncles arrived on the scene. “I was very scared and kept screaming: ‘I didn’t do anything.’ ‘You threw stones at the jeep,’ one of the soldiers said in Arabic. I didn’t know what jeep he was talking about.

I didn’t know who threw stones or when. My uncles and the soldiers started arguing with each other and a few seconds later my father came. One of the soldiers was grabbing my left arm and my uncle Ibrahim was grabbing me from the other arm […] I was very scared and trying to hide behind my uncle and kept telling him and my father, ‘please don’t let them take me away.’” A short time later, six more Israeli soldiers arrived on the scene with two Israeli Border Policemen. “They shouted at my father and uncles and pointed their weapons at them and forced them to enter my uncle’s house. At the same time a soldier picked me up | Bound, Blindfolded and Convicted on his shoulder and started running,” recalls Mahmoud, who was soon placed inside an armoured jeep. Inside the jeep, Mahmoud reports that he was slapped across his face once, “but not hard.” His hands were then tied in front of him with a piece of cloth and he was blindfolded.

Mahmoud was first taken to the settlement of Kirya Arba and made to sit on a chair outside a building whilst still tied and blindfolded. Mahmoud reports that somebody walked by and slapped him three times on each cheek, “but the slaps were not painful.” Mahmoud recalls that as time went by, “I felt less scared and less worried, but more tired and bored as they kept me sitting in the chair for about two hours.” Mahmoud was permitted to use the toilet and was offered food and water. At around 7:30 pm, Mahmoud was placed inside another military vehicle and transferred to the settlement of Gush Etzion, closer to Bethlehem. On arrival at Etzion, his blindfold was removed and he was released into the custody of his father at 8:00 pm.

On 22 February 2011, a 16-year-old boy from Beit Ummar is arrested by Israeli soldiers and accused of throwing stones during a demonstration against land confiscation.

Tareq dropped out of school and works as a farm labourer to help support his family. At around 3:00 pm, on 22 Feburary 2011, Tareq was returning home from work with two friends. “There was a peaceful demonstration going on near Karmi Zur, protesting the confiscation of village lands,” recalls Tareq. Karmi Zur is an Israeli settlement built close to Tareq’s village. “We saw the demonstration but kept walking to our houses after a long hard day at work. We approached the demonstrators and came near to a house, when a group of soldiers suddenly stormed out,” says Tareq.

“I was so scared of the soldiers I decided to run away to the fields with my friends. At that point, another group of soldiers suddenly appeared and fired in the air. I was so scared I froze in my place. Three soldiers approached me while pointing their rifles at me and my friends. They knocked me down, tied my hands behind my back with plastic cords and blindfolded me,” recalls Tareq. ‘They kept me on the ground for about half-an-hour until a military jeep arrived. They put me in the jeep and started beating me with the barrels of their rifles in my back and stomach. They also insulted me: ‘You dog, throwing stones at us and running away,’ they shouted. ‘I didn’t throw stones,’ I said.” | 99 Tareq was taken to an unknown location. On arrival, Tareq was taken out of the vehicle and was kept standing for about three hours whilst still tied and blindfolded. After three hours, Tareq recalls being dragged by the shirt to another location. “He removed the blindfold and I found myself in an interrogation room. There was a man in police uniform in the room,” recalls Tareq. “The interrogator slapped me across the face and kicked me on my bottom. ‘What did you do to be brought here you dog?’ he asked. ‘I didn’t do anything,’ I said, and he ordered the soldiers to leave the room. He sat behind the desk and kept me standing in front of him. ‘You are accused of throwing stones today at settlers and soldiers,’ the interrogator said. ‘I didn’t throw stones,’ I said. ‘I was on my way home from work,’ I said, and explained what had happened. ‘You’re a liar. Confess so I can help you out,’ he said. ‘I can’t confess to something I didn’t do,’ I said. ‘You want to teach me how to do my job?’ he replied. The interrogator approached me and started slapping and kicking me. He even knocked me down. ‘Get up and tell me how you threw stones at soldiers,’ he ordered me. ‘I threw stones at soldiers and settlers today in Karmi Zur,’ I said. ‘Why?’ he asked. ‘Because they took our land,’ I said. ‘What? You want to liberate Palestine now?’ he said. ‘It’s our land,’ I said. ‘Shut up dog,’ he replied, ‘you’ll see whose land it is.’” The interrogator then called a soldier into the room and ordered him to blindfold Tareq and take him to a cell. “He kept me tied and blindfolded in the cell for four hours,” says Tareq. After four hours Tareq was taken back to the interrogation room and ordered to sign papers without knowing their contents. “I had to confess because I was very scared,” says Tareq.

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