These facts have been made public by Defence for Children International – Palestine Section (DCI-PS). The organization’s 2013 case summaries make for chilling reading.
Shoved to the ground
DCI-PS found that Jaber has been held at the Moskobiyyeh jail in West Jerusalem (also known as the Russian Compound). It is not the first time that Jaber was arrested. Last year, he already spent nine months in prison for throwing stones.
On 5 March, nine-year-old Mo’men ran away from a demonstration in Hebron. Near his home, he ran into a group of Israeli soldiers. They grabbed him in the neck and by his left shoulder and took him to a room near Shuhada Street. “I was very scared of them especially when they grabbed me by my neck,” said Mo’men. “I was really scared and worried about what would happen to me.”
In the room, he was held with several teens. He was blindfolded and his hands were tied in front of him with two plastic cords. A military jeep took him to the police station in the settlement of Kiryat Arba, where he was forced to sit outside until 9.30 in the evening — all the time his hands were tied and he was blindfolded. He was brought back to Shuhada Street in a military jeep where he was turned over to the Palestinian Authority’s police. Soon after that, he was reunited with his father.
According to Israeli law, children under the age of twelve are not criminally liable and may not be arrested, interrogated as a suspect or brought to trial.
Punched and kicked
Seventeen-year-olds Ahmad and Moath were arrested by Israeli soldiers during a demonstration near Huwara checkpoint (south of Nablus) on 3 March. In their testimonies, they said that they were chased by four Israeli soldiers who punched and kicked and hit them with the stocks of their rifles. Their hands were tied behind their backs with a plastic cord and they were blindfolded. They were physically assaulted in the back of a military jeep on the way to Huwara interrogation and detention center. While blindfolded they heard soldiers using mobile phones to take photos of them, both alone and with soldiers next to them.
Soldiers punched and kicked them before they were again put in a military jeep, still blindfolded and with their hands tied. They were taken to Ariel police station where they were interrogated without the presence of an attorney or family member. They were not informed of their rights. They both provided confessions and signed statements in Arabic without being allowed to read the statement or understand the contents. The following day, they were unlawfully transferred to Megiddo prison inside Israel.
Forced to sign statements
On 25 February, 14-year-old Hassan was arrested by Israeli soldiers during clashes between youths and soldiers near Huwara checkpoint. Soldiers chased Hassan through a field and caught him because he had breathing problems from inhaling teargas. A soldier knocked him down from behind and hit him several times with a wooden stick on the legs.
Hassan testified that he was punched in the face and kicked in the stomach, then grabbed by the neck. His hands were tied tightly behind his back with a plastic cord, causing him pain. He was blindfolded and transferred to Ariel police station. In the interrogation room at the police station, he complained that his hands hurt; they were swollen and looked blue. The interrogator unbound his hands. Hassan denied he had thrown stones at the soldiers.
Hassan gave in after he was intimidated by the interrogator who promised to send him home if he confessed. “But if you don’t, I’ll lock you away for six months and forbid you to enter Israel.” Hassan had to sign a statement in Hebrew. On 28 February, he was released on a bail of 3,000 shekels (almost $650). However, the charges can be filed against him at any time within six months from his arrest.
On 25 February, 15-year-old Baha was arrested by three soldiers while he was on his way home from school. At Ariel police station, an interrogator forced Baha to sign papers written in Hebrew. Baha told DCI-PS that he had asked the interrogator “to explain what was written but he refused and shouted and made me sign the papers.” Baha testified that he did not confess, although the interrogator had pressurized him to admit he had thrown stones.
Beaten for complaining
Both teens were arrested in an early morning raid on 9 February. The soldiers tied their hands tightly behind their backs and blindfolded them. Majd said the soldiers transferred them to different detention facilities — including Ariel police station — a number of times. Soldiers beat them when they complained that the plastic ties were too tight.