by Julie Webb-Pullman (Reprinted from Gaza Scoop)
In an opinion released on June 29, 2016 The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention slammed Israel for its treatment of a Palestinian child arbitrarily detained, tortured, and forced to sign a document without first reading it. The Group also noted the discriminatory nature of the arrest based on the nationality of the victim, who was referred to as XXXXX, but acknowledged to be one of the children in the notorious Hares Boys case.
In the advance unedited version of the opinion, the Working Group “recommends the Government Israel to provide full reparations to XXXXX, starting with his immediate release,” and decided to refer the allegations of torture to the Special Rapporteur on torture for appropriate action.
Israeli authorities did not refute that on 16 March 2013 XXXXX was strip searched and locked in a small room for a long time, during which he was obliged to stay nakedly in stressful positions. In an interrogation room he was shackled, by hands and feet to a chair and was questioned for several hours. He was also subjected to verbal abuses and threats and was forced to sign a document that he was prevented from reading beforehand. For 21 days, XXXXX was held in solitary confinement with no access to the outside world and he was deprived of visits from his family and lawyer.
On 5 April 2013, he was transferred to Megiddo prison in northern Israel, where he was again held in solitary confinement for 19 days.
The Working Group noted that XXXXX was deprived of liberty when he was 17 years old, and had the right to be tried by a juvenile justice system in a speedy manner.
“Military Tribunals cannot be competent for civilians in accordance with relevant international human rights law. He was arrested without a warrant, was not informed of the reasons of the arrest and was not allowed to receive visits from his lawyer for several days following the date of his arrest. During interrogation,he was tortured and forced to sign a document without reading it first,” the Group found.
The Working Group concluded that the detention of XXXXX between 15 March 2013 and 9 April 2013 was arbitrary, being without any legal basis, nor any charge or trial.
It was also of the opinion that those acts from Israeli authorities are in violation of articles 9 and 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), as well as articles 9, 10 and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and that detention of XXXXX was based in his Palestinian origin therefore was discriminatory in nature.
The Working Group has a mandate to investigate allegations of individuals being deprived of their liberty in an arbitrary way or inconsistently with international human rights standards, and to recommend remedies such as release from detention and compensation, when appropriate.