Throwing Stones … Story to the Darkness of Israeli Jails

On 8 September 2012, a 17-year-old boy from the village of Azzun, in the occupied West Bank, is arrested by Israeli soldiers and accused of throwing stones at a road used by settlers.

“At around 3:00 p.m. I was near the main road near my village which is used by Israeli settlers,” says Mahmoud. A short time later an Israeli army jeep arrived on the scene and some soldiers started to chase Mahmoud. The soldiers shouted at Mahmoud to stop and he did. “They approached me and one of them knocked me down and started beating me for about five minutes. Then they tied my hands behind my back with a single plastic tie which was so tight and painful I screamed. Another soldier hit me on the head and told me to shut up in Arabic.” Mahmoud recalls also being blindfolded and then being made to walk to the jeep whilst somebody kept hitting him from behind. He was pushed into the jeep and reports being slapped and kicked once inside.

About 10 minutes later the jeep arrived at the illegal Israeli settlement of Zufin. On arrival at the settlment Mahmoud’s shoes were removed and he was forced to walk over rocks and thorns. “I asked for some water and was brought a bottle. I drank and it was bitter, and then I realised they had given me beer. I spat it out and could hear laughter,” recalls Mahmoud. He was then searched and made to sit outside for about two hours.

About two hours later Mahmoud was placed back in a vehicle and transferred to Huwwara interrogation centre, outside the West Bank city of Nablus. He was detained in a room until the next morning and was not given anything to eat or drink. “I asked a soldier to bring me some food and eventually he brought and empty plate and told me to eat. The other soldiers started laughing at me,” recalls Mahmoud.

The next morning Mahmoud was transferred to Salem interrogation centre, near the West Bank city of Jenin. “When I arrived I was taken to a small room and my hands and feet were still shackled. An interrogator then arrived and said: ‘I’ll question you and you better tell me everything you did because if you don’t this will last for hours and be hard.’ Prior to questioning, Mahmoud was not given an opportunity to consult with a lawyer and says he was not informed of his rights. Neither of Mahmoud’s parents were present, a right generally afforded to Israeli settler children when questioned. The interrogator accused Mahmoud of throwing stones and Molotov cocktails. He confessed to throwing one stone but denied throwing Molotov cocktails. “He grabbed me and lifted me off the chair and started slapping me across the face, while shouting at me and calling me a liar and cursing my father,” recalls Mahmoud. The interrogation lasted for about two hours but Mahmoud refused to confess to anything more than throwing one stone. He was then made to sign a statement written in Arabic which he says he was not given an opportunity to read.

Following his interrogation, Mahmoud was transferred to Megiddo prison, inside Israel. The transfer and detention of Mahmoud to a prison inside Israel was in violation of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Mahmoud reports being strip searched on arrival. On 11 September, Mahmoud was brought before a military court for the first time. Source: Ahrar center

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