Minor Prisoners Recount Torture in Israeli Jails

RAMALLAH, May 19, 2015 (WAFA) – Palestinian minor prisoners arrested by Israel in recent months have indicated a surge of flagrant violations against them during and after detention by the Israeli authorities, including physical assault, and strip searches.

Heba Masalha, an attorney with the Detainees and ex-Detainees Affairs Committee, was recently allowed to visit minor prisoners in Israeli jails. She reported the affidavit of four minor prisoners which indicated a relentless disregard to basic humanitarian rights of prisoners.

Jamal Za’tari, 15, from the Jerusalem neighborhood of al-Tour told Masalha he was severely beaten by Israeli police officers during his arrest two months ago. Za’tari was eye-folded, handcuffed, strip-searched, verbally insulted, and repeatedly hit on his head during his detention and during investigation, he told the committee’s attorney.

Meanwhile, Riyad Abu-Ta’a, 17, from the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah said he was acutely beaten in the face and back by Israeli police during his arrest four months ago. Like Zatari, Abu-Ta’a was eye-folded, handcuffed, strip-searched and verbally insulted during both detention and investigation.

As for 17-year-old Iyad Adawi from Nablus, he told Masalha 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 make cuts and wounds in his hand, while using a knife either to tie or untie his handcuffs during his arrest and transfer for investigation.

Meanwhile, Musab Hamdan, 17, from Hebron, was also severely beaten, especially in the face, by Israeli soldiers who arrested him about a month ago.

On January 19, an attorney with the committee reported that Palestinian minor prisoners incarcerated in Israeli jails are routinely subjected to physical torture during their arrest and interrogation as well as in detention.

“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 are currently incarcerated in Israeli jails.