Israel uses electric shock torture against children
RAMALLAH, -- The Palestinian prisoner club accused the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) of committing new crimes of corporal torture against children through giving them electric shocks and beating them severely.
The club said that Palestinian child Hamza Al-Za'aol, who was kidnapped on the fourth of May on a charge of throwing stones, told club lawyers that Israeli occupation forces (IOF) used electric shocks against him in Etzion prison while another child detained on the same day called Ismail Al-Za'aol said he was severely beaten especially in his broken leg.
The club revealed that the number of children kidnapped during the first quarter of 2009 rose to 443 prisoners after kidnapping 14 minors this year.
In another related context, the popular committee against torture said in a report issued Wednesday that the IOF troops and the Shin Bet security service deliberately tortured Palestinian detainees through handcuffing them in a painful manner contrary to international law.
The committee said that its report depended on 574 cases of arrest and interrogation during the last year and on testimonies collected from Israeli soldiers by the organization of breaking the silence that is concerned about reporting on IOF troops' violations.
Alone in 2009, already 288 Palestinian children have
been killed by IDF and settlers. In the same time
not one single israeli child was killed by Palestinians.
Since year 2000, 1435 Palestinian children between
aged between 1 and 17 years have been killed by Israelis.
"A soldier pointed his rifle at me. The rifle barrel was a few centimetres away from my face. I was so terrified that I started to shiver. He made fun of me and said: 'Shivering? Tell me where the pistol is before I shoot you.'"
- Ezzat, 10 years old
Israel's systematic ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children
Each year, approximately 700 Palestinian children (under 18) from the West Bank are prosecuted through Israeli military courts after being arrested, interrogated and detained by the Israeli army. Since 2000, around 6,500 Palestinian children have been detained, says a new report titled Palestinian Child Prisoners.
From the moment of arrest, Palestinian children encounter ill-treatment and in some cases torture, at the hands of Israeli soldiers, policemen and interrogators.
Children are commonly arrested from the family home in the hours before daw
n by heavily armed soldiers. The child is painfully bound, blindfolded and bundled into the back of a military vehicle without any indication as to why or where the child is being taken.
Children are commonly mistreated during the transfer process and arrive at the interrogation and detention centres traumatised, tired and alone. During interrogation, children as young as 12 years are denied access to a lawyer and visits from their families. These children will generally not be permitted to see a lawyer until after they have provided a confession to the interrogator.
Whilst under interrogation children are subjected to a number of prohibited techniques, including the excessive use of blindfolds and handcuffs; slapping and kicking; painful position abuse for long periods of time; solitary confinement and sleep deprivation; and a combination of physical and psychological threats to the child, and the child's family.
Confessions written in Hebrew
Most children confess and some are forced to sign confessions written in Hebrew, a language they do not comprehend. These interrogations are not video recorded as is required under Israeli domestic law.
Children as young as 12 years are prosecuted in the Israeli military courts and are treated as adults as soon as they turn 16, in contrast to the situation under Israeli domestic law, whereby majority is attained at 18.
In 2008 the most common offence Palestinian children were charged with under Israeli military law, was stone throwing. This charge was made in 26.7% of cases and under Israeli Military Order 378 carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment. In 91% of all cases involving Palestinian children, bail was denied.
Proceedings in the military courts disregard many basic fair trial rights and general principles of juvenile justice are simply not applied. In almost all cases, the primary evidence against the children is the confession extracted during a coercive interrogation. With no faith in the system and the potential for harsh sentences, approximately 95% of cases end in the child pleading guilty, whether the offence was committed or not.
No family visits
Once sentenced, the overwhelming majority of Palestinian children are detained inside Israel, in clear contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Many children receive no family visits whilst in prison and limited education is only provided in two out of five of the prisons used to detain Palestinian children.
The ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children by Israeli authorities is widespread, systematic and institutionalised. This system operates within a general culture of brutality and impunity. Between 2001 and 2008, over 600 complaints were filed against Israeli Security Agency (ISA) interrogators for alleged ill-treatment and torture. To date, there has not been a single criminal investigation.
Unless and until there is some level of accountability for what amounts to serious breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the UN Convention Against Torture and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, both at the domestic and international level, the ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children at the hands of Israeli authorities will continue unchecked.
»Full Report: Palestinian Child Prisoners (2009)...
»Bound, blindfolded, beaten by Israeli troops...