[Pnews] Palestinian Children describe torture in Israeli solitary confinement

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon May 12 18:59:36 EDT 2014


  Children describe torture in Israeli solitary confinement

Submitted by Ali Abunimah on Mon, 05/12/2014
*http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/children-describe-torture-israeli-solitary-confinement*

A rising proportion of Palestinian children arrested by Israeli 
occupation forces are subjected to solitary confinement, harsh 
interrogations and ill-treatment amounting to torture, according to a 
report 
<http://www.dci-palestine.org/sites/default/files/report_doc_solitary_confinement_report_2013_final_29apr2014.pdf> 
published today by Defence for Children International-Palestine Section 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/defence-children-international-palestine-section> 
(DCI-Palestine).

"In 21.4 percent of cases recorded by DCI-Palestine in 2013, children 
detained in the Israeli military detention system reported undergoing 
solitary confinement as part of the interrogation process. This 
represents an increase of two percent from 2012," a press release 
<http://www.dci-palestine.org/documents/rising-numbers-palestinian-children-subjected-solitary-confinement> 
accompanying the report states.

DCI-Palestine collected 98 sworn affidavits from Palestinian children 
aged 12 to 17 in 2013. The disturbing findings in the report are based 
on 40 solitary confinement cases documented in 2013.


    Night arrests

In the vast majority of cases (34 out of 40), children are arrested from 
their beds. "Children report that heavily armed Israeli soldiers arrest 
them in violent circumstances during night raids on their family homes," 
the report says.

The children "are often woken up by the sound of Israeli soldiers 
banging on the front door before a family member opens the door or the 
soldiers force their way in, storming the home."

Then, the occupation soldiers "gather all the occupants of the house, 
regardless of their age, in one room or outside and then demand 
identification. Generally, the entire home will be searched during the 
raid. Once a child's identity has been verified from his identification 
card, his family will be informed that he must accompany the soldiers."


    Blindfolded

Children or their parents are almost never informed of the accusations 
and, the report says, this moment "is most likely the last time the 
family will see their child until he appears in a military court 
following an unknown period of solitary confinement and interrogation."

"Once the soldiers have identified the child, his hands will be tied 
with plastic cords, most likely behind his back, and he will be 
blindfolded and led to a military vehicle."

More than half of the children reported some form of physical violence 
during the arrest and transfer to interrogation facilities, including 
Petah Tikva <http://electronicintifada.net/tags/petah-tikva> detention 
center, Kishon detention center (also known as Al-Jalame 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/al-jalame-interrogation-center>) 
near Haifa, or Shikma prison near Ashkelon.

These facilities are under control of the Israel Prison Service 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/israel-prison-service> and/or the 
Shin Bet <http://electronicintifada.net/tags/shin-bet> secret police. 
Al-Jalame is among several Israeli facilities equipped 
<http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/adri-nieuwhof/young-palestinian-father-dies-after-israeli-interrogation-g4s-equipped-prison> 
by the international incarceration profiteering firm G4S 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/g4s>.


    "Foul smelling"

On average, children spent 10 days in solitary confinement, but children 
have been held for up to 29 days in isolation. Children held at Kishon 
described being locked in a small, windowless cell lit 24 hours a day by 
a dim bulb.

There they slept on a concrete bed, on the floor, or on a thin mattress 
they often described as "dirty" and "foul smelling." Cell walls are grey 
"with sharp or rough protrusions that are painful to lean against."


    Forcing confessions

While being deprived of legal counsel, family contact and almost never 
being informed of their rights, including the right to remain silent, 
children are subjected to prolonged interrogations, abuse and violence 
amounting to torture.

Most children are accused of stone-throwing, "an offense that can 
potentially lead to a sentence of up to 20 years depending on a child's 
age." But the accusation may be a pretext to coerce children into 
providing information useful in Israel's effort to suppress any form of 
resistance to occupation.

"The interrogation techniques are generally mentally and physically 
coercive, frequently incorporating a mix of intimidation, threats and 
physical violence with a clear purpose of obtaining a confession," 
DCI-Palestine states. "Shouting and intimidation are regularly used to 
elicit confessions, incriminating statements, and information on 
neighbors or family members."

During interrogations, "children report being forced to sit in a low 
metal chair secured to the floor with their hands and feet cuffed to the 
chair, often for several hours." In 31 out of 40 cases, children 
reported being subjected to such "position abuse," the most frequent 
form being that the child is shackled to a chair in a painful position 
for long periods of time.


    Role of informants

After experiencing horrifying abuses and days of solitary confinement, 
children are psychologically vulnerable. Israeli interrogators take 
advantage of this by the use of informants. DCI-Palestine describes the 
technique Israel uses, based on the children's accounts:

    Following many days held in isolation and subject to prolonged
    interrogation sessions, a child will be informed that the
    interrogation is over and that they will be transferred to a prison
    cell.

    Once the child arrives in a typical prison cell, an adult prisoner
    warmly welcomes him, often bringing warm food, a pack of cigarettes,
    or other items. The adult prisoner attempts to gain the child's
    trust by sharing information about the child's family or members of
    his community. Children report being warned not to talk to anyone
    but this specific individual regarding their interrogation. Often,
    the adult prisoner will either ask a child about the interrogation
    and what questions were asked, or offer to alert others on the
    outside if he shares information.

    After a day or two, the child is ushered back to interrogation where
    he is often confronted with an audio recording or statements he made
    to the adult prisoner informant. During interrogation, the child
    realizes for the first time that the adult prisoner is an informant
    collaborating with Israeli intelligence officers, and the child's
    interaction with this individual was part of the interrogation process.

    After being confronted with this reality, children generally provide
    a confession without access to counsel to allegations made against
    them during the interrogation.


    Impunity

DCI-Palestine's report was submitted to a number of UN bodies and 
includes an analysis of how Israel's mistreatment of children and 
increasing use of solitary confinement amount to grave violations of 
international law, including conventions on torture.

"The practice of using solitary confinement on children in Israeli 
detention facilities must be recognized as a form of torture and be 
stopped immediately," the report states.

But it also notes the total impunity 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/impunity> that has ensured that 
Israel's abuses have continued unchecked.

During 2013, DCI-Palestine reports that it filed 15 complaints with 
Israeli authorities concerning ill-treatment and torture of ten children 
while in Israeli military detention.

But, the report states, "not a single indictment has been issued against 
a perpetrator, and in many cases it is unclear if an investigation has 
been initiated."


    Mounting evidence

The latest report from DCI-Palestine adds to a mountain of evidence 
about Israel's systematic abuse and killings of Palestinian children, 
including earlier reports from DCI-Palestine 
<http://www.dci-palestine.org/documents/report-details-ill-treatment-palestinian-children-israeli-forces>, 
B'Tselem 
<http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/palestinian-children-routinely-tortured-some-threatened-rape-israel-rights-group>, 
Human Rights Watch 
<http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/children-killed-israeli-soldiers-hiding-near-schools-says-human-rights-watch> 
and Amnesty International 
<http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/amnesty-video-highlights-trigger-happy-israels-lethal-ambush-schoolboy>.

Last December, the advocacy group the Public Committee Against Torture 
in Israel (PCATI) 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/public-committee-against-torture-israel> 
revealed that Israeli authorities had locked Palestinian children in 
outdoor cages during a severe winter storm 
<http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/israel-put-palestinian-children-outdoor-cages-during-winter-storm>.

-- 
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863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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