[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 Israel’s 
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-Palestine’s 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-Palestine’s 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.

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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