Palestinian child prisoners fined $30,000 since beginning of 2015

The International Middle East Media Center reported Monday that over $30,000 USD (NIS 120,000) in fines have been imposed on child prisoners just since the beginning of 2015. 6

Abd al-Fattah Dawla, a representative of Palestinian child prisoners in Ofer, told a Palestinian lawyer from the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society that NIS 120,000 in fines have been imposed since the beginning of the year. 34 Palestinian children and teens under 18 were arrested in January, 29 in February, and 23 in March through April so far. He also noted that there are 24 sick child prisoners in Ofer, including Mohammad Blasi with severe infections and Yazan Jawabreh, who has asthma.

On January 19, a lawyer of the Detainees and Ex-detainees Affairs Committee reported that Palestinian minor prisoners incarcerated in Israeli jails are subjected to physical torture during their arrest and interrogation as well as in detention.

“By the end of January 2014, it was reported that a total of 183 Palestinian children were prosecuted and detained in the Israeli court system, a rise of 18.8% over the month. The figure includes twenty children between the ages of 14 and 15,” reported the Middle East Monitor in news story.

“Around 500 – 700 Palestinian children, some as young as 12, are arrested, detained and prosecuted in the Israeli military detention system each year. The majority of Palestinian child detainees are charged with throwing stones. No Israeli children come into contact with the military court system,” said Defense for Children International (DCI).

“Despite international condemnation and awareness of Israel’s widespread and systematic ill-treatment of Palestinian child prisoners, there have been no practical steps taken to curb violations,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Accountability Program director at DCI-Palestine. “The international community must demand justice and accountability.”

Israel is the only state to systematically prosecute children in military courts that lack basic standards of due process. Addameer human rights group says most of the detained children report being subjected to ill-treatment and having confessions extracted from them during interrogations.

Forms of ill-treatment used by Israeli soldiers include slapping, beating, kicking, violent pushing, threats and even sexual assault.

A study conducted by Defense for Children International (DCI) in the occupied Palestine territories showed that Palestinian children in Israeli prisons are being subjected to torture, sleep deprivation and are repeatedly blindfolded.

DCI reported that, “In 21.4% of cases, Israeli military, police and security agents held children in solitary confinement for an average of 10 days for interrogation purposes.”

In 96% of cases documented by DCI-Palestine in 2013, children were questioned alone and rarely informed of their rights, particularly their right against self-incrimination.

DCI stated, “The interrogation techniques are generally mentally and physically coercive, frequently incorporating a mix of intimidation, threats and physical violence with a clear purpose of obtaining a confession. More than one in five of the 2013 cases, children signed statements in Hebrew, a language they do not understand.”

DCI reported that, “Military detention is a reality for hundreds of Palestinian children each year, exposing them to physical and psychological violence, interrupting education, contributing to mental health issues, and placing large numbers of families under stress. This continued to be the case in 2014.”