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Palestinian child describes details of torture and mistreatment during his arrest

Rashid Al-Rashq, a 14 year-old Palestinian boy, has revealed that Israeli forces tortured and mistreated him, including stripping him of his clothes, after he was imprisoned for two months based on the accusation that he allegedly threw stones.

Al-Rashq, who is from the Old City in Jerusalem, told Quds News Agency that the Israeli police arrested him in the Old City and took him to the Qishleh police headquarters near the Jaffa Gate to investigate him without the presence of his father.

The young boy described how Israeli forces beat him and the investigators stripped him of his clothes during the investigation, forcing him to sit on a small chair.

Al-Rashq recounted how during the first seven days he was questioned 24 hours a day, while his hands were tied behind his back.

The police suspected him of throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli settlers and police units in occupied Jerusalem, and when he insisted that he did not throw any stones, the investigators would beat him, slapping him and spitting in his face.

Al-Rashq said that he appeared before the judge nearly ten times, and every time there were surprise witnesses, including settlers and members of the Israeli intelligence services who testified against him.

Al-Rashq is a ninth grader who studies at the Islamic Orphanage in the old town.

He explained that the investigators also used torture against other child detainees, adding that the investigators threatened him not to mention his torture or mistreatment inside the prison or else he would be beaten again. They also asked him to sign papers confirming that he was not beaten; however, he refused to sign them.

The young boy spoke about the Hasharon prison where he was detained, describing how the prisoners there are neglected and kept in moist rooms that lack ventilation or proper health conditions.

The judge released Al-Rashq on bail, but placed him under house arrest until next month, during which time he is not allowed to leave the house to attend school.

Rashid's father told Quds News Agency that during the early days of his detention, the investigators refused to allow him to be present during his son's investigation.

The father also said that: "Nearly an hour and a half after Rashid was arrested, a police force raided the house looking for clues but did not find anything; and when they finished the police officer asked to have some light clothes for Rashid," adding that "sometimes when Rashid appeared before the Israeli court the family was not even informed of the secret sessions where his son would appear alone with the judge and witnesses."

He continued: "Every time I attended the trial, I could see the torture marks on my son's and other children's faces, but the last time the marks were very bad. He was very sick with fever and the police gave him some kind of medication, which we knew nothing about."

The father appealed to international human rights organisations and legal institutions to intervene to save the children of Jerusalem, who suffer under occupation and continued detention, depriving them of their childhood and education.

English transcription beneath video

Transcription of video

My name is Rashid Al-Rashq from Dar Al-Aytam Al-Islamia School.

They captured me from home at around 6-7am. A lot of intelligence agents came to capture me with the police. They hit me and took me away.

When I arrived at the jail they put me in an interrogation room. A man came in with a bag, he put papers in my hands and then he covered them in bags and two hours later he removed them.

Another man came and he kept stepping on my chest and spitting on me. They put me in the interrogation room at 9-10am, I was alone and my parents weren't allowed to come in with me. A man asked me: "Are you not going to talk?" When I'd reply: "I don't know anything," he's slap me. So he'd ask again and again and keep slapping me whenever I replied.

I was sent to the prison for a couple of hours then the next day I was brought back to interrogation room. They kept asking the same questions and kept hitting me every day. While I was in the interrogation centre I wasn't allowed to sleep. I'd sleep for an hour or so at most while in the prison cell.

After I'd been interrogated seven or eight times I told them I need sleep, I couldn't take it anymore. Every night they'd put shackles on me and they'd hang me with them.

In prison there's terrible damp and the walls are cracked and pieces of stone keep falling. The boys kept there aren't doing well because of the atmosphere, the rainwater gets in, the damp issue is a big problem and its cold and there's no heating.

When they took me to court they warned me that if I said they'd been hitting me they would finish me off. They told me to sign a declaration saying they had not physically abused me but I refused.

They handcuffed my hands behind my back and put shackles on me so I couldn't sleep.

The day I arrived they stripped me of all my clothes, including my underwear and made me sit on a small stool.

At night they'd stop me sleeping by hitting me.

They released me from prison and put me under house arrest. My trial is in a month and in sha Allah it'll go well.

This isn't the first time I have been arrested; I've been arrested more than once before. They do this so I don't go back to the Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyards. This time was the worst experience for me of being arrested. Previously they'd arrest me only to release me on bail.

They try to annoy us and make it difficult for us to access Al-Aqsa Mosque. They purposely get in our way and stop us and then they call the police on us. But if we called the police to complain about their treatment of us nothing would happen, the police wouldn't arrest the Israelis.

I'm not the only one; it's all the school children who suffer the same way. They want the Palestinians not to be aware of what's going on at Al-Aqsa. They want to stop our education so we are no longer aware of the history and what's going on around so we don't fight for Jerusalem.

March 20 was my last trial date they hit me on my knuckles and on my wrist, you can still see a mark on my knuckles but my wrists have healed. They said if I talked they would hit me or worse, they'd break my bones.

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