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Israel army detained a child for nearly a year without charge

July 10, 2019 at 12:59 pm

Israeli police officers detain a Palestinian youth on 4 January 2012 [Mahfouz Abu Turk/Apaimages]

Israeli occupation forces held a Palestinian child for nearly a year without charge, reported Defence for Children International-Palestine (DCIP).

On 20 September 2017, Israeli soldiers raided Laith K.’s home in the middle of the night, in Kafr Ein village near Ramallah.

Aged only 17-years-old, Laith was “bound, blindfolded, and physically assaulted by Israeli forces. He was neither informed of the reason for his arrest nor presented with a warrant”, reported DCIP.

During interrogation, Laith was questioned about throwing stones, a so-called “security offense” under Israeli military law. Although he denied the allegations, “the interrogator printed out a statement in both Arabic and Hebrew and made him sign it”.

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Six days after being first detained – during which time neither Laith nor his lawyer were informed of the reason for his detention – “an Israeli military judge approved a four-month administrative detention order against Laith”, an order subsequently renewed

The order was renewed in January 2018 for an additional four months, and renewed for a second time in May 2018, before Laith was released without explanation in August.

Overall, the youth “spent nearly 46 weeks in military detention and was never formally charged with a crime”, a “prolonged detention” which “forced him to miss his final year of high school”.

According to DCIP, “experiences like Laith’s have increased in frequency in recent years”.

“Between 2012-2014,” the NGO stated, “Israeli forces briefly suspended its practice of detaining children under administrative detention orders. However, between October 2015 and June 2019, DCIP documented 30 children in administrative detention”.

Administrative detention is a form of imprisonment without charge or trial. Those held under administration detention – including children – are not presented with charges, and the so-called “secret evidence” is neither disclosed to the detainee nor the lawyer.

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An administrative detention order can be renewed indefinitely.

“You can’t know when you will be released, what will happen to you, or anything else,” Laith said in an interview with DCIP after his release.