[Ppnews] New report documents systematic abuse of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Mar 22 17:24:33 EDT 2012
New report documents systematic abuse of
Palestinian children in Israeli military detention
Submitted by nora on
Thu, 03/22/2012 - 17:52
Israeli forces arrest and detain four youth near Beit Ommar, January 2011.
(Palestine Solidarity Project)
Since 1967, Palestinians from the West Bank
have been living under Israeli military law and
prosecuted in military courts. The United Nations
(UN) estimates that during the last 44 years,
around 726,000 Palestinian men, women and
children have been prosecuted and detained under
these emergency laws. In the past 11 years alone,
around 7,500 children, some as young as 12 years,
are estimated to have been detained,
interrogated, and imprisoned within this system.
This averages out at between 500-700 children per
year, or nearly two children, each and every day.
A new, important yet disturbing report published
on Tuesday by Defence for Children International
- Palestine section has found that Israels
routine arrests, detentions, interrogations,
abuses and torture of Palestinian children are in
breach of various UN and international laws,
including the Convention on the Rights of the
Child, the Convention against Torture, and the
International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights, all of which have been ratified by Israel.
Based on the testimonies of more than 300
children interviewed between 2008 and 2012,
DCI-Palestines report states in the summary that
there is a systematic pattern of ill-treatment,
and in some cases torture, of children held in
the military detention system, with the majority
of the abuse occurring during the first 48
hours. 3 of the 311 children who provided
testimonies were arrested while they under 11
years old, but the majority of the children
interviewed were detained while they were 16 and 17 years old.
According to the report, 95 percent of the
children interviewed stated that their hands had
been tied during interrogation, 90 percent had
been blindfolded, 75 percent reported physical
violence used against them, 33 percent had been
strip-searched, and 29 stated they had been shown
and/or forced to sign documents including
confessions written in Hebrew, with no translation or translators available.
12 percent of the children had been put into solitary confinement.
DCI-Palestine also reported that majority (60
percent) of Palestinian children testified that
they had been arrested by heavily-armed Israeli
forces who snatched them from their homes between
midnight and 5am, and then taken to an unknown location for interrogation.
The report adds:
The arrest and transfer process is often
accompanied by verbal abuse and humiliation,
threats as well as physical violence. Hours later
the children find themselves in an interrogation
room, alone, sleep deprived, bruised and scared.
Unlike Israeli children living in settlements in
the West Bank, Palestinian children are not
accompanied by a parent and are generally
interrogated without the benefit of legal advice,
or being informed of their right to silence.
Within eight days of their arrest, the
children are brought in chains to a military
court where, in most cases, they will see a
lawyer and their parents for the first time.
Although many children maintain their innocence,
in the end at least 90 percent will plead guilty,
as this is the quickest way out of a system that
denies children bail in 87 percent of cases.
Within days of their arrest, nearly two-thirds of
the children are transferred to prisons inside
Israel in violation of Article 76 of the Fourth
Geneva Convention, which prohibits such
transfers. The practical consequences of this is
that many children receive either limited, or no
family visits, due to freedom of movement
restrictions and the time it takes to issue a permit to visit the prisons.
Out of 311 testimonies, no child was
accompanied by a lawyer during their
interrogation, and only two children (0.6
percent) were accompanied by a parent. This is
significant because third-party scrutiny of the
methods of interrogation can be an effective
measure to limit the use of torture, ill
treatment and other coercive techniques during questioning.
DCI-Palestines report also includes in-depth
testimonies from some of the Palestinian
children, interviews with medical and
psychological experts, and testimonies from
former Israeli soldiers now with the group
Breaking the Silence who participated in the
arrest and interrogation of children.
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