Name: Mohammad H.
Date of Incident: 21 February 2012
Location: Beit Ummar, Occupied Palestinian Territory
Nature of Incident: Human shield
On 21 February 2012, a 15-year-old boy from Beit Ummar is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:30 am, and is used as a human shield during ensuing clashes.
“On 21 February 2012, at around 2:30 am, my brother woke me up and told me that Israeli soldiers were knocking on the door,” recalls 15-year-old Mohammad. “My father opened the door and an officer told him they wanted me. But he’s just a child,’ my father said, but the officer said: ‘He’s under arrest.’ I was actually expecting this to happen, because a guy from the village that was released recently from Ofer prison told me that one of the detainees there had confessed against me,” says Mohammad.
Mohammad rushed to change his clothes. Outside the house, there were around 20 soldiers waiting for him. “My father talked to the officer and asked him not to beat me or hurt me,” he recalls. Mohammad’s hands were tied behind his back and he was placed on the floor of a military jeep with another 16-year-old boy from the village, Muhab M., who had also been arrested.
As soon as the boys entered the vehicle, stones started hitting the jeep. Immediately, “one of the soldiers grabbed me from behind by the jacket and pulled me out, and another soldier pulled out Muhab. They made us face the area where the stones were coming from, and two soldiers grabbed me by the arms and kept pushing me forward so they could take cover. They did the same to Muhab. Some of them were standing behind us, and two of them, including the driver, were still inside the jeep. Then, two or three soldiers started firing tear gas canisters and stun bombs, while others started shouting and insulting the stone-throwers in Hebrew. Two stones hit me on the left knee; Muhab was hit on the chest. I felt pain on my knee for about an hour, but fortunately my injury wasn’t serious. I was very worried and scared of being hit on the face or the head.”
When the stone-throwing ended, Mohammad and Muhab were placed once again on the floor of the military jeep, and they were transferred to the Etzion interrogation and detention centre, inside the Israeli settlement of Gush Etzion. Mohammad reports being physically and verbally abused by the soldiers during transfer. He was interrogated several times by different interrogators but refused to confess to throwing stones. Mohammad was then transferred to Ofer prison, and was released on bail the following day.
29 February 2012