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Israeli judge says confession given by minor under duress is admissible

February 17, 2014 at 11:15 pm

A human rights group has denounced an Israeli judge’s decision to hold as admissible a confession given to the police by a Palestinian minor even though it was obtained under duress.

The Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, B’Tselem, revealed that on 9 January, Israeli Military Youth Court judge Major Sharon Rivlin-Ahai held that the confession given to the police by “I.D., a 14-year-old Palestinian boy from Nabi Saleh accused of stone-throwing… was admissible.” This, added B’Tselem, “even though the minor had been questioned in breach of his rights under Israel’s Youth Law, whose spirit, according to the Military Appeals Court, applies also in adjudication of Palestinian minors in the military courts.”

According to B’Tselem, the boy was arrested at home in the middle of the night and was not allowed to rest, eat or go to the bathroom. “He was interrogated for more than seven hours, without his parents present, by three or four interrogators, only one of whom is a trained youth interrogator.” Moreover, said B’Tselem, that “trained youth interrogator… is not currently functioning in that capacity and has not undergone retraining following the changes in the Youth Law made in 2008.”

B’Tselem added in a press release dated 18 January, that although the minor’s attorney contacted the interrogators before the interrogation began, “I.D. was only allowed to consult with him after five and a half hours of interrogation”. Despite having his rights read to him three times, claims B’Tselem, the boy’s right to remain silent was “omitted” from the declaration by the interrogators. Instead, it was emphasised to him that he “must tell the truth”. Under pressure, the boy admitted throwing stones and named two of his fellow villagers as being responsible for “organising demonstrations and inciting people to throw stones”.