RAMALLAH, August 31, 2015 (WAFA) – Minor prisoners detained by Israeli authorities in recent months have indicated an upsurge of flagrant violations against them during and after detention, including physical assaults and strip searches.
Heba Masalha, an attorney with the Prisoners’ Affairs’ Commission, was recently allowed to visit minor prisoners in Israeli jails. She heard the testimony of three minor prisoners, who indicated a relentless disregard to basic humanitarian rights of prisoners and minors.
Ahmad Abu-Omar, a 17-year-old detainee from the village of Jama’in near Nablus, told Masalha he was brutally assaulted by Israeli soldiers, who arrested him from his village about two months ago.
He said shortly after he was taken outside the village, the soldiers assaulted him with their hands and legs and with the butts of their rifles in the head and body, and while he was eye-folded and strictly handcuffed. After that, he was moved to nearby Ariel illegal settlement and then to Huwwara military base, where he was verbally abused. He was also strip-searched when taken to Megiddo prison.
Meanwhile, Ahmad Sabah, 17-year-old from the village of Taqu’ near Bethlehem, told attorney Masalha he was taken from his house during an Israeli late night raid in the village a few months ago. He said the Israeli soldiers accompanied by sniffer dogs raided his family home, causing fear among children who were then awaken by the soldiers’ shouts. Sabah was then eye-folded and handcuffed by the soldiers who assaulted him in the head to force him point his head downwards.
As for 17-year-old Iyad Adawi from Nablus, he said he was acutely beaten up by Israeli soldiers who arrested him at a checkpoint near Nablus a few months ago. Adawi said one of the soldiers deliberately attempted to cut and wound his hand using a knife either to tie or untie his handcuffs during detention and interrogation.
On January 19, an attorney with the Commission reported that Palestinian minor prisoners incarcerated in Israeli jails are routinely subjected to physical torture during their detention and throughout the course of interrogation.
“By the end of January 2014, it was reported that a total of 183 Palestinian children were prosecuted and detained in the Israeli court system, a rise of 18.8% over the month. The figure includes twenty children between the ages of 14 and 15,” reported the Middle East Monitor in a story.
“Around 500 – 700 Palestinian children, some as young as 12, are arrested, detained and prosecuted in the Israeli military detention system each year. The majority of Palestinian child detainees are charged with throwing stones. No Israeli children come into contact with the military court system,” said Defense for Children International (DCI).
Israel is the only state to automatically and systematically prosecute children in military courts that lack basic standards of due process.
More than 200 minor prisoners, out of about 5,600 Palestinian and Arab political prisoners, are currently incarcerated in Israeli jails.