Electric cable attached to genitals of boy questioned by Israeli soldiers
Friday 20th August, 2010
Israeli human rights organizations and the Geneva-based Defence for Children International are voicing concerns over the treatment of Palestinian kids by Israeli soldiers, including incidents of sexual abuse.
Israeli human rights organizations have joined with Defence for Children International to complain of routine torture of Palestinian children in Israeli prisons.
DCI have filed two official complaints over the alleged treatment of a 15-year old boy earlier this year. The boy from the village of Beit Ummar, near Hebron, was arrested at the end of May on a charge of throwing stones at Israeli soldiers. He denied the charges.
After five days of what the human rights organizations described as “cruelty and torture,” the boy then confessed. He appeared in court and was remanded despite his lawyer telling the court the boy had been sexually abused and tortured.
The judge of the military court at the time, Lt. Col. Avshalom Meushar, said "The substance of the confession made by the suspect, and the detailed nature of his answers, constitute evidence that the answers he gave were not provided under pressure or torture, but of his own free will.” Lt. Col. Meushar added there was no evidence to support the boy’s claim of abuse.
The human rights organizations investigating the case said the boy had told them how he was abused, laughed at by other soldiers watching, handcuffed in a humiliating position, and was stripped naked and had an electric cable attached to his genitals. He says he was told he would be given an electric shock unless he confessed that he was throwing stones at the time of his arrest.
Israel’s Military Advocate General has begun an investigation into the incident, however investigators refused to go ahead with an interview of the boy this week because the boy wanted his lawyer present.
DCI and the Public Committee Against Torture said children are apprehensive and frighted to be questioned by members of the Israeli military after their experiences and need somebody on their side to support them.
Another two Israeli human rights organizations, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and Yesh Din, told the Haaretz newspaper this week they are concerned about the provisions of the relevant military laws saying they play a major role in the abuse perpetrated on imprisoned Palestinian minors. Both groups wrote to the Military Advocate General Avichai Mendelblit in June this year with recommendations for changes to these laws.
The Palestinian branch of the Geneva-based Defence for Children International (DCI ) says it has taken sworn affidavits from more than 100 Palestinian children claiming maltreatment. Fourteen of the statements allege sexual assault and abuse by soldiers. The DCI said that such practices violate international law and children’s rights.
The organization says it has asked the UN to investigate reports that Palestinian children held in Israeli prisons from January 2009 to April 2010 were subjected to sexual abuse in an effort to gain their confessions.
Nearly every minor was handcuffed for long periods of time, according to the one hundred statements taken by DCI. Many were blindfolded for extended periods of time. Boys as young as thirteen said they were threatened with rape if they did not confess.
Israel has rejected DCI’s claims saying such practices are consistent with international law, adding that any claims related to abuse or violence should be formally raised at trial or in an official complaint.
Around 700 Palestinian minors aged twelve to eighteen are arrested each year in Israel. There are approximately 340 Palestinian children held in Israeli jails. 60% of them have been charged with throwing stones, says Impunity Watch, an interactive Web site that operates as a law review, and message board with the objective of giving a voice to people who are silenced.
Impunity Watch is completely run by students at Syracuse University College of Law.
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In: Middle East
Tags: Middle East, Palestine, Israel, Islam, Terrorism, Christianity, Muslim, war, peace, conflict, christian, jew, jewish
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