Lawyers from the Palestinian Ministry of Detainees' and Ex-Detainees' Affairs, have claimed that Israeli internal security officers from Shin Bet tried to rape a child prisoner at Etzion Prison, south of Bethlehem. The prisoner involved, a boy, gave his testimony to this effect, under oath, to the lawyers.
The Shin Bet officers are accused of stripping the boy and threatening him with rape in order to extract a confession. When he started screaming, the lawyers said that, "The officers stopped, before extracting the names of people who were throwing stones at Israeli occupation forces patrols". The boy gave his own name and identified others under threat of further sexual assault.
The Ministry said that this is not unusual inside Israeli prisons. Child prisoners have their rights violated almost as a matter of routine, it said. Torture, beatings and abuse are commonplace, as is sexual abuse.
Israel holds a number of child prisoners in small rooms which restrict movement, sleep and exercise. Their relatives also face restrictions over visits while the children are held in detention.
According to the Ministry's lawyers, most children are taken into custody by the Israelis following their arrest while playing in the street, on the way home from school or when their homes are broken into by police and soldiers. Human rights groups have confirmed the belief that child prisoners face psychological as well as sexual harassment from investigators. The number of Palestinian children in prison who are suffering from medical neglect has now risen to 30, added the lawyers; they are denied proper medical treatment and requests for specialists to visit them are usually refused by the Israelis.