Voices from the Occupation: Mahmoud R. - Detention

Posted on: 19 Jan 2012 | Filed under:

Name: Mahmoud R.
Date of arrest: 1 January 2012
Age: 15
Location: Azzun village, occupied West Bank
Accusation: Shooting, throwing stones and Molotov cocktails

On 1 January 2012, a 15-year-old boy from Azzun, in the occupied West Bank, 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 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.

25 February 2012