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Wednesday March 17, 2010 5:05 PM (EST+7)
Children describe abuse in Israeli jails

Read more: torture, youth, children, prisoners, detainees, abuse

JERUSALEM, March 16 (JMCC) - Affidavits collected by a human rights group show that Palestinian children face abuse and even torture in Israeli detention.

Israel’s high court ruled out the use of torture in 1999, banning shaking, forcing detainees to sit in awkward positions for hours and sleep deprivation.

But in statements to the Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights, two boys describe being beaten and restrained for hours.

“We think it’s a new trend,” says Ziad Hammouri, the director of the center.

As events heat up in Jerusalem, children are at the center of the conflict.

“The way that they treated people yesterday, the way that they were beating people on television -- adults and children -- was very tough,” warns Hammouri.


Loay al-Rajbi, 14, lives in Silwan in occupied east Jerusalem. Police came to arrest him at 4:30 in the morning on January 10.

“I was led by two soldiers to a gray military jeep,” Loay recalls. “I wasn’t hit then.”

It was only at the police station in Jerusalem’s Russian Quarter where the abuse began.

“I was in a small room hardly big enough for three people; it had two desks and a wooden chair. My hands were cuffed in front of me and my head was covered with a black bag while I stood facing the wall for three hours. Everyone passing behind me would slap me on the neck.”

Two hours into his detention, Loay asked for food and to use the bathroom. His request was refused.

“They threatened to beat me if I didn’t confess to throwing stones at the settler house they seized years ago. I said I didn’t throw any stones.”

Loay was moved to another room where an interrogator punched him in the face until his nose bled. Still, Loay refused to confess.

At 11 in the morning, he was taken to the magistrate court, where his detention was extended for a week. Other boys had confessed and were released.

“On Saturday,” Loay says, “a day before I was released, we were so hungry that we called out to a prisoner whose job it was to distribute food to the rooms. Three jailers came in and started beating us.”

Loay has been arrested seven times, twice from his seventh-grade classroom in the Orphan’s School.  Each time he has been charged with throwing stones at settlers’ homes.


Also from Silwan, Mohammad Dweik, 12, was arrested from his home in the middle of the night in November 2009.

“I was put alone in a small room on a chair with my hands and feet tied, and an interrogator started questioning me. He said I was charged with throwing stones at the Maragha building that the settlers took over.”

“I said I didn’t but he threatened to blow me up if I didn’t confess. He left the room and came back a few times but I kept denying the charges. I asked to go to the bathroom and he agreed so a guard came and took me.”

“During that time I could hear my friend, Mohammad Shweiki, crying in the next room and somebody yelling at him. That’s when I started to get scared. The interrogator kicked me three times.”

“I asked him to bring the Quran and I would swear I didn’t throw stones but he said he doesn’t believe in the Quran and asked me to sign papers, but I refused.”

Mohammad’s father was waiting for him in a nearby room. Shortly after seeing his father, he and his friend were released.






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