Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Palestinian minors in East Jerusalem subject to abuse in detention, report says

By Rhiannon F. - October 25, 2017
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [child arrests]

A new report released today by human rights groups HaMoked and B’Tselem documents systematic abuse by the Israel Prison Service, police and the courts on Palestinian minors in East Jerusalem.

The report titled, 'Unprotected: The Detention of Palestinian Teenagers in East Jerusalem,’ is based on 60 affidavits of boys aged 12 to 17 arrested between January 2014 and August 2016.

Each minor’s account of abuse tells a similar tale, pointing to a “primary mode of conduct adopted by the State of Israel for boys suspected of stonethrowing,” as stated in the report.

The majority of boys interviewed were pulled out of bed in the middle of the night, handcuffed and interrogated before speaking to a lawyer and not informed of the right to remain silent.

When in custody they are held in harsh conditions and repeatedly remanded to detention, subject to verbal abuse, threats and physical abuse.

Many are also pressured into confessing allegations and sign involuntary confessions, 80% of which are in Hebrew, a language they do not understand.

A.D. a Palestinian boy aged 16 and four months at the time of his arrest said in his affidavit he was arrested at home around 4am.

“Some ISA guys came to our house, along with some Border Police. They knocked on the door and my dad opened it. An interrogator woke me up and told me to get dressed.

“He handcuffed me with my hands in front. I couldn’t understand why they were taking me. [He] grabbed me by the arm and dragged me outside.”

A.D. was interrogated three times in total, while in leg restraints, and kept in detention for 17 days without a change of clothes or access to his parents.

Another boy the same age, M.A. was accused of stabbing someone and was told by the interrogators if he didn’t confess they would “crush [him] and [he’d] rot away in solitary confinement.”

“He threatened to arrest my entire family,” M.A. stated.

“In solitary confinement, the light was on around the clock… [it] made my eyes ache. It was easier to be tied up in interrogation than to stay in that cell, cold and all alone,” M.A. described his harsh conditions of detention.

M.S. was 15 and one month when arrested and subject to physical abuse during interrogation.

“They beat me with brass knuckles on my back, stomach and chest. They were careful not to hit me in the face.” M.S. remembers.

The report states the Israeli authorities disregard treating the youth in an age appropriate manner, failing to recognise “every action could have long-term repercussions for the boys.”

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child declares the arrest, detention or imprisonment of minors should always be a last resort, and, naturally, all human rights should be upheld.

The report concludes the actions of “the police, the Israel Prison Service and the courts, who automatically extend the custodial remand,” is a part of Israel’s overall treatment of Palestinians in Jerusalem.

“All Israeli authorities operating in East Jerusalem follow a policy aimed at encouraging Palestinian residents to leave the city.”


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