Rights Center Demands Immediate Investigation into Brutal Detention of Gaza Boy

RAMALLAH, December 30, 2015 (WAFA) – A human rights center has demanded an immediate investigation into the circumstances surrounding the brutal detention of a Palestinian boy who crossed Israel’s border fence with Gaza in late September in search of work.

The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (Adalah) has sent a letter to the Israeli government’s legal advisor and military attorney-general demanding the opening of an immediate investigation into the circumstances surrounding the detention of Yousef al-Tarabin.

On Thursday September 24, Israeli forces detained al-Tarabin, 16, a resident of Sha’sha’a neighborhood, east of Jabalia refugee camp, as he and his friend, Hani al-Sharatha, 17, crossed the border fence between Israel and Gaza, looking for employment opportunities.

In his letter, Nadim Shehadeh, an attorney representing Adalah, wrote that based on information collected by Gaza-based Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, Yousef was beaten and mistreated during detention.

Yousef informed Al-Mezan Center that he and Hani “went to the border fence area because they wanted to smuggle into Israel to find work. After they crossed the border fence, an Israeli force in military vehicles appeared and surrounded them.”

“A soldier ordered them to remove all of their clothes. A soldier stepped out of a vehicle with a dog that had a muzzle on. When the soldier and the dog came closer to the two children, they raised their hands in the air. The soldier removed the muzzle and let the dog attack them. The dog attacked Yousef and bit him in his right arm. He screamed and asked for help, but the soldiers laughed loudly. When he tried to release himself from the dog, the dog bit his left hand. After a couple of minutes of wrestling with the dog, a soldier approached them and pulled the dog away,” added Al-Mizan Center in a press release about the case.

The attorney representing Adalah added that Yousef was taken to an Israeli military installation, where he was forced to sign a document in Hebrew, which he couldn’t read and then was held in a room for about four hours without being offered food or water.

After undergoing a check and receiving medication, Yousef was released at Erez crossing. When he reached the Palestinian side of the crossing, he was taken to Gaza hospital for further medication.

The attorney enclosed with the letter medical records outlining the medications that Yousef needed and explaining the serious physical and psychological impacts detention and torture had on him.

“These actions constitute a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and Israeli law. The details recounted by al-Tarabin are indicative of serious suspicions that Israeli soldiers utilized prohibited methods that are tantamount to torture, inhuman and degrading treatment,” added the attorney.