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UA – 1/10 : URGENT APPEAL : DCI-Palestine
|Incident||Night time raid, arrest, ill-treatment of at least 17 children|
|Location||Al Jalazun Refugee Camp (Ramallah), West Bank|
|Date of incident||11 February 2010|
|Accusations||Throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli soldiers|
|Place of detention||Rimonim Prison, Israel|
UPDATE:14 June 2010 (see table below)
5 July 2010 Next Court appearance
7 June 2010 Court appearance
10 May 2010 Court appearance
11 March 2010 Court appearance
8 March 2010 Children transferred to Rimonim Prison inside Israel
28 February 2010 Court appearance
24 February 2010 Court appearance
Summary of incident
On 11 February 2010, at least 17 children were arrested from the Al Jalazun Refugee Camp in the middle of the night by Israeli soldiers. The children and their families report the use of excessive force during the arrests, and ill-treatment and coercion during subsequent interrogations. The children were interrogated in the absence of a lawyer and family member, and the interrogations were not video recorded. The children are accused of throwing stones, and in some cases, Molotov cocktails at Israeli soldiers in 2009 and 2010. The children are being prosecuted in military courts.
At around 2:00am, on Thursday, 11 February 2010, Israeli soldiers entered Al Jalazun Refugee Camp near Ramallah, in the West Bank and went from house to house and started rounding up, beating and harassing residents of the Camp. According to information obtained by DCI-Palestine, at least 17 children were arrested and taken away. Reports indicate that the children were first taken to the Israeli settlement of Beit El, and then to Binyamin Police Station and Ofer Interrogation and Detention Centre, near Ramallah.
DCI-Palestine has so far obtained five affidavits from some of the children detained and their parents. The evidence indicates that excessive force was used during the raid and illegal techniques used during the subsequent interrogations.
Ahmad G. (14 years)
A DCI-Palestine lawyer met 14-year-old Ahmad G. on 18 February 2010, in Ofer Prison. Ahmad told the lawyer what happened after Israeli soldiers entered the family home at 2:00am: ‘I put on my clothes and asked the soldier to allow me to say goodbye to my father and mother but he refused. He grabbed me by the back and took me out of the house. We walked for several metres away from the house. Then he blindfolded me, tied my hands behind my back, and kept me in the street in the cold weather for about an hour.’
About an hour later Ahmad, and other children, were ordered to walk to the nearby Israeli settlement of Beit El, where they were asked some general questions about their health and made to sign some papers. Ahmad was then placed in a military vehicle and he believes he was taken to Binyamin Police Station for interrogation. ‘Then a soldier took me to a room and removed the blindfold. I found myself standing before three interrogators. Suddenly, one of them slapped me on the neck and the other two pushed him away from me and took him out of the room.’ One of the interrogators then told Ahmad: ‘You’re not alone here, we arrested another 30 children and brought them here.’ The interrogator then asked Ahmad whether he threw stones, Molotov cocktails or homemade grenades at Israeli soldiers and then told Ahmad that others had confessed against him. Ahmad denied the accusations. One of the interrogators then blindfolded Ahmad and ordered that he be taken to another interrogator, saying: ‘this interrogator will beat you, so it’s better for you to tell him everything.’ Ahmad at first denied the accusations but then ‘someone behind me hit me on the head. I became scared and told him what he wanted to hear though I did not throw any stones, Molotov cocktails or explosive materials. I signed a paper and a soldier took me out of the room.’
It was daylight when Ahmad’s interrogation ended and he was given a sandwich by a soldier before being tied and blindfolded and left in a room. Ahmad asked to use the bathroom but was refused. Sometime later, Ahmad was placed in a vehicle with other detainees and soldiers. ‘The soldiers started insulting me and the other detainees by saying “your mother’s a c**t, son of a whore”. They kept hitting us all over our bodies.’ Ahmad was taken to Ofer Prison where he was ordered to strip: ‘I became very upset, especially when I saw a female soldier standing in the yard and looking at me. I took off my clothes very quickly and felt a great embarrassment. The soldier gave me the brown prison uniform and photographed me.’ Ahmad was then detained in a section with children and adults aged between 15 and 50 years.
Ahmad has appeared twice in Ofer Military Court and has been charged with throwing stones and Molotov cocktails in February 2009 and 2010, and possession of a knife in June 2009. His next court appearance is on 1 March 2010.
Khaled D. (15 years)
DCI-Palestine met Khaled’s mother, Maha, on 17 February 2010. Maha recalled waking to the sound of explosions in the camp at around 2:30am, on 11 February 2010. A short time later, around 10 heavily armed Israeli soldiers stormed the family house. Maha recalls what happened next: ‘After pushing my husband and aiming their weapons at us, a soldier called out my son Mesbah (22 years) who was standing with Khaled, my daughters and me. Once Mesbah approached the soldier who called him, two other soldiers attacked him and started beating him on the head. They tied his hands behind his back and forced him to kneel down in the kitchen … The soldiers saw Khaled and about three of them attacked him in a corner in the living room in front of me and my daughters. They started beating him. They beat him on the head and legs … also one of them started slamming his head against the wall.’ Khaled was then tied and blindfolded and taken out of the house. Maha was not told why her son was being arrested or where he was being taken. ‘Before going away, I asked the soldiers to say goodbye to my son but they refused. They kept dragging him away and closed the door of the house behind.’
Khaled has appeared twice in Ofer Military Court but has not yet been charged with an offence. His next court appearance is on 24 February 2010. He is currently being detained in Ofer Prison.
DCI-Palestine has obtained information regarding the arrest of 17 children, but we can not yet confirm whether more children were arrested from the Al Jalazun Camp on 11 February 2010.
The mass arrest and ill-treatment of at least 17 children from the Al Jalazun Refugee Camp, on 11 February 2010, is not an isolated incident. On 29 September 2009, DCI-Palestine submitted 11 cases to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture arising out of three incidents where the Israeli army entered Palestinian villages in the middle of the night and rounded up children en masse, accusing them of throwing stones at the Wall and settler by-pass roads in the West Bank.
The first incident occurred in the village of Tura al Gharbiya, near Jenin, in the early hours of 19 January 2009. Units from the Israeli army took children as young as 12 years old from their homes and interrogated them in the village youth centre before transferring them to an interrogation and detention centre. The children report being beaten and threatened into providing confessions stating that they threw stones at the Wall.
The second incident occurred on 26 March 2009, in the village of Haris, south of Nablus. As many as 90 children were rounded up by units from the Israeli army and subjected to beatings and threats. The children were accused of throwing stones at Route 505, a nearby road used by Israeli settlers in the West Bank. The case was reported in The Independent newspaper on 9 June, which referred to a ‘fanatical atmosphere’ among soldiers during the incident in which ‘curses, humiliation, pulling hair and ears, kicks and slaps’ were the norm.
The third incident occurred in the village of Azzun, near Qalqiliya, in the early hours of 14 July 2009. Boys as young as 15 report receiving severe beatings during intense interrogation sessions that occurred in a number of locations. One boy recalls that during his interrogation ‘he asked me how many times I threw stones. I told him I never threw stones. He hit me with his hands and kicked me. After that he stepped heavily on my leg and said ‘you son of a whore, I’ll break your head if you don’t confess.’ As a result, the boy became very scared and ‘confessed to throwing stones just to get rid of the pain he was causing me.’ The same boy then signed a confession written in Hebrew, a language he does not understand.
These cases are just some examples of what appears to be the systematic and institutionalised ill-treatment of approximately 700 Palestinian children by Israeli authorities each year in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The situation has not improved since the UN Committee Against Torture published its Concluding Observations regarding torture and ill-treatment in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory in May 2009.
More recently, B’Tselem documented four incidents in Silwan, East Jerusalem, in which children were arrested by police officers and Israel Security Agency agents accompanied by armed border policemen. The children, aged 12 to 15, were reportedly taken from their beds in the middle of the night, handcuffed, and brought to interrogation at the police station in the Russian Compound, in West Jerusalem.
There are currently 318 Palestinian children being held in Israeli detention facilities. For further information please see DCI-Palestine’s monthly Detention Bulletin.
Please send Urgent Appeals urging:
Mr. Menachem Mazuz, Attorney General, Fax: + 972 2 627 4481; + 972 2 628 5438; +972 2 530 3367
Brigadier General Avihai Mandelblit, Military Judge Advocate General, 6 David Elazar Street, Hakirya, Tel Aviv, Israel, Fax: +972 3 608 0366, +972 3 569 4526, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations Office and Specialized Institutions in Geneva, Avenue de la Paix 1-3, 1202 Geneva, Fax: +41 22 716 05 55, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please inform DCI-Palestine if you receive any response to your appeals and quote the UA number at the top of this document – email@example.com