DCI-Palestine issues new report: Bound, Blindfolded and Convicted: Children held in military detention (2012)

The report is the culmination of four year’s work by DCI, with the support of the European Union, focusing on verifying reports of ill-treatment and torture of children in the Israeli military detention system. The findings of the report are based on 311 sworn affidavits taken from children between January 2008 and January 2012. The report also includes:

  • An interview with a lawyer who represents children in the military courts;
  • An interview with the director of the YMCA rehabilitation programme;
  • An interview with an Israeli soldier, courtesy of Breaking the Silence;
  • A Psychological opinion into the effects of military detention on children; and
  • 25 case studies taken from child-detainees.

The report found that there is a systematic pattern of ill-treatment, and in some cases torture, of children held in the military detention system, with the majority of the abuse occurring during the first 48 hours. The key findings of the report are presented in the table below:

# Common complaints and areas of concern Number of cases Percentage of children
1   Hand ties 296 95%
2   Blindfolds 281 90%
3   Physical violence  234 75%
4   Detention inside Israel in violation of Article 76 196 63%
5   Arrested between midnight and 5:00 am  188 60%
6   Confession during interrogation
180 58%
7   Threats 178 57%
8   Verbal abuse and/or humiliation 169 54%
9   Strip searched 102 33%
10   Transferred on floor of vehicle 98 32%
11   Signed/shown documents written in Hebrew 91 29%
12   Solitary confinement 38 12%

The testimonies reveal that most children are arrested from villages located close to friction points, namely settlements built in violation of international law, and roads used by the Israeli army or settlers. The report includes 10 recommendations, which if implemented, would reduce the level of ill-treatment, but no one should be under any illusion that the treatment documented in the report can be eliminated so long as the friction points remain and Palestinian children are treated as second-class individuals.

The full report is available on line, and hard copies are available on request.