RAMALLAH, December 13 (JMCC) - Police treatment of Palestinian minors in East Jerusalem, some as young as five, was slammed in a report Monday released by an Israeli human rights group. Treatment of minors in ways that violate the country’s laws, and international laws are cited.
In a report released on Monday, B'Tselem has said Israeli police arrested at least 81 Palestinian minors between November 2009 and October 2010 on suspicion of throwing stones at Israelis in the Silwan neighbourhood near Jerusalem's Old City.
The Jerusalem Police systematically violates the law, primarily the Youth Law, which grants minors special rights in criminal matters and prohibits, as a rule, interrogation of minors at night, the group said.
The report said many arrests were made at night, by taking the minors from their beds and rushing them to interrogation... in most cases in order to obtain information on incidents that occurred a few days earlier.
It also accused police interrogators of illegally preventing parents from attending the questioning of their children, and said many minors complained of violent treatment during their arrests.
Their complaints of violence were disregarded or treated with scorn, and in the isolated cases in which the Department for the Investigation of Police opened an investigation, it was closed without any proceedings being taken against the persons responsible.
B'Tselem called on police to immediately end such arrests and interrogations and instead emphasise options for the rehabilitation of the minors and for preventing injury to them.
The police conducted these arrests in a harmful manner, which reflects disregard of the rights and needs of the child suspects and may have serious consequences on their future development, the report said.
The report comes less than one month after the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) submitted a letter to the government, with the signatures of 60 child experts – pediatricians, councilors, teachers – appealing that police be made to act in accordance with the law when dealing with minors from East Jerusalem.
“We feel there has been a deterioration in the past year [in incidents of police misconduct in East Jerusalem,” says ACRI Spokesperson Ronit Sela to jmcc.org. “We have seen a peak in the numbers of families requiring legal advice.”
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