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400 Palestinian children held in Israel’s prisons

Israeli soldiers detain Palestinian child during clashes in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, on 28 May 2010
Israeli soldiers arrest a Palestinian child in West Bank on 28 May 2010 [file photo]

The number of Palestinian children held in Israeli occupation jails has reached 400, the director of the Commission for Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs has revealed.

Issa Qaraqe said: “The number of imprisoned children has increased over the last few months, reaching nearly 400 children in Ofer and Megiddo prisons.”

Ninety-five per cent of imprisoned children have been subjected to brutality during their arrest and interrogation. The occupation government has adopted a systematic policy of detaining children, torturing them and placing them in inhumane conditions.

“The detention of minors is a part of the government’s racist and arbitrary laws, both in terms of arrest and in its issuance of long sentences accompanied by fines in military courts.”

According to Qaraqe a number of children have been sentenced to administrative detention, such as in the case of 14-year-old Nour Essa Attiyeh from Anata, north of occupied Jerusalem, who was sentenced to three months of administrative detention.

Lawyer for the Commission for Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs, Hiba Masalha, stated that the Israeli government, soldiers and detectives deal harshly with Palestinian children as soon as they are arrested. She also stated that they commit various forms of torture and humiliation against the children, which is a violation of all humanitarian and international legislation.

In the case of 16-year-old Yazan Saeed Hashem Al-Batran from Tulkarm, who has been detained since 20 July, Masalha said he is being held in the “cubs” block in Megiddo prison. He was arrested in the afternoon after three soldiers attacked him.

“First, the soldiers pushed him down to the ground and handcuffed his arms behind him. Then they beat him with their hands, feet and rifles. He sustained a harsh blow on his sides and several bruises and contusions.”

She added, “After they beat him, two soldiers carried him and forced him into their Jeep. He was taken to the police station where he remained on the floor, handcuffed and blindfolded from the early afternoon until 8pm. He was then taken to an unspecified questioning centre and after searching him, he was taken into a room and left there handcuffed and blindfolded until the morning.”

He was beat by the guards several times while he was there and deprived of sleep.

“At 9am, he was taken to the interrogation room and in the late afternoon, he was transferred to Israel’s Megiddo Prison,” she explained.

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